FAU Electrical Engineering Students to Present Unique Ideas at TEDx Boca Raton’s 'Breaking Barriers' Conference

Monday, Mar 23, 2015

Student Projects include Development of Epidemic Response Kit, Power Medical Devices; Advocating Arts in STEAM

Two undergraduate students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University will take their place among distinguished innovators who will be presenting their unique concepts at the upcoming spring conference of TEDx Boca Raton — a program designed with the mission “ideas worth spreading.” The spring conference, titled "Breaking Barriers," will take place on Thursday, March 26, 2015 from 4 to 10:30 p.m., at the Mizner Amphitheater in Boca Raton.

Max Torres, 21, a resident of Boca Raton, is conducting research in renewable energy and has  developed an epidemic response kit that will allow doctors to travel all over the world and still be able to power their necessary medical devices. He is currently working on three research projects — refurbishing and retrofitting a 15-year-old golf cart with solar panels, studying the energy consumed by a typical residential load for the optimization of photovoltaic system design, and investigating the effectiveness of student-led learning programs such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Applied Electronics Boot Camp.

Océane Boulais, 20, also a resident of Boca Raton, is working on two competitive research projects, including one to study renewable energy in Iceland along with Torres, and will share her insights on the power of integrating the arts in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). Boulais was recently accepted to a paid research program over the summer at Duke University.

"We are extremely proud of Océane and Max for being selected to present at TEDx Boca Raton," said Mohammad Ilyas, Ph.D., dean of FAU's College of Engineering and Computer Science. "Their drive, ambition and 'out-of-the-box' thinking is exactly what is needed to be successful in science and engineering and to make a powerful and positive impact on society."

Torres is a senior at FAU pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He is a member of the Innovation Leadership Honors Program, the Society of Hispanic Professionals, the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and the chair of the student branch of the IEEE. He mentors middle and high school students in robotic competition programs, teaches college students the fundamentals of electrical engineering through the IEEE bootcamp, and even has competed in the world-wide IEEEXtreme programming competition. Torres plans on furthering his education in power engineering and renewable energy.

Boulais is an undergraduate researcher working on two competitive projects in the renewable energy fields. She has connected with faculty from the Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavik University to learn first-hand from the world’s pioneers in renewable energy systems. Quoting The Independent Icelandic Energy Portal, Boulais points out that approximately 86 percent of Iceland’s consumption of primary energy comes from renewable sources. Through this initiative, Boulais and Torres hope to gain a much deeper understanding of renewable energy systems in the fields of hydroelectricity, geothermal, wind power and biofuels and bring that knowledge back home for coursework and real-world applications. Boulais was recently selected as the Extreme Engineer of the Year from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and is the first student from FAU to be selected for the Power and Energy Society Scholarship Program from IEEE. Her passion for art integration in the field of science and engineering is contagious and she enjoys being a student leader involved in several organizations on FAU’s campus that promote STEAM-enhanced education.

"Océane and Max are prime examples of how undergraduate research and inquiry across all disciplines is thriving at Florida Atlantic University," said Donna Chamely-Wiik, Ph.D., director of FAU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry. "We embrace innovation at FAU and provide programs that engage and support our students’ intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge and discovery."