Visitors to this winter’s innovation celebration at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator had an interesting treat: the opportunity to witness the intersection of art and science.
For an independent study project, Engineering Science major Tyler Mucci used a 3-D scanner to capture the dimensions of students’ feet, hands and heads, and then printed them out using a 3-D printer. Visual Communications students then painted the sculptures in both realistic and abstract ways.
During the event in SUNY Broome’s top-floor Collaboration Lab, the first-year student both displayed sculptures already produced by the project and printed out another head on the 3-D printer.
“We were hoping to show how engineering can tie into not just math and science, but other aspects like art,” explained the Windsor High School graduate, who worked with both Engineering Science Professor Robert Lofthouse and Visual Arts and Communications Professor Hall Groat on the project.
Mucci himself falls solidly on the engineering side. The Presidential Honors Scholar has his own workspace at home, with a 3-D printer and scanner, a miniature lab for electrical work and soldering equipment. While he does print out props for costuming use, he’s usually engaged in some sort of scientific project or another. The big ones he’s working on now: Making his own radio telescope and gamma ray telescope, thanks to the Geiger counter he recently obtained.
You could say his interest in science runs in the family: His mother is a chemistry teacher and his grandfather headed SUNY Broome’s chemistry program back in the Broome Tech days.
“The biggest place of interest to me is the exploration of space. My mom and grandfather fostered that,” he reflected. “The goal is to work for SpaceX in the end.”
He’s hoping to land an internship with the famous firm founded by Elon Musk, and is working with Professor Lofthouse to that end. After he graduates from SUNY Broome, he plans to transfer to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to major in aeronautical engineering and possibly physics, along with a few minors.
In the meantime, he tutors his fellow Hornets in math and chemistry and volunteers as a Student Ambassador. He monitors the 3-D printing lab in the Applied Technologies Building and also works on various college projects, including a collaboration with a math professor who wants to install a sculpture of a Szilassi polyhedron in the new Paul & Mary Calice and Mildred Barton Advanced Manufacturing Center. The Szilassi polyhedron is a fascinating mathematical shape in which every face interacts with every other face, explained Mucci, who printed off a model.
He’s also working on another independent study with a fellow student: testing the strength of 3-D printed materials.
So why did this talented engineering student – one of the top students in his alma mater – decide to come to SUNY Broome?
“I know that the engineering and science programs here are really good, and it’s a really good stepping stone to go to a lot of other colleges,” he said. “I got into Clarkson, but $60,000 a year was a little pricey.”
SUNY Broome’s Engineering Science program strives to give its students every opportunity possible to maximize their futures. Every Wednesday, the department holds an orientation program that connects students with transfer schools, local employers and more. Plus, as a smaller school, SUNY Broome makes it easy for students to get the help they need, Mucci said.
“It’s been a great overall experience. If I was given the opportunity, I definitely would come here again,” he said.