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561-297-1399, or
Patsy Jones

FAU Graduate Student Receives National Link Foundation Fellowship

BOCA RATON, FL (May 15, 2009) – Cyndee Finkel, a Florida Atlantic University doctoral student in the physics department in the Charles E. Schmidt  College  of Science, has received the highly-competitive national $25,000 Link Foundation Fellowship for her work on biomimetic studies.  Also called bionics, biomimetic studies is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems of fish and bird propulsion.

Finkel is co-advised by Dr. Korey Sorge in the Department of Physics and Dr. Karl von Ellenrieder in the Department of Ocean Engineering in FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Her research poster titled, “Experimental Study of Synchronization and Phase Dynamics in Flapping Wing Propulsion,” demonstrates the need for high propulsive efficiency in micro-aerial vehicles and has led to biomimetic studies in order to better understand propulsion and active flow control. She explains that heaving airfoils are a main focus since natural fliers use oscillating wings.

“By elucidating the fundamental physical principles behind natural flight, Cyndee’s work may lead to innovative means of controlling the maneuvering and propulsion of manmade robotic vehicles,” said von Ellenrieder.

In order to test this concept, Finkel, together with  von Ellenrieder, designed a freely-flying system.

After I passed my qualifying exam, I decided to pursue an experimental path,” said Finkel. “Dr. von Ellenrieder gave a presentation in my department on biomimetic studies of fish and bird propulsion, and with full support from Dr. Warner Miller, chair of the physics department, I decided to pursue research in this field.”  

The Link Foundation awards up to five fellowships to qualified doctoral students in academic institutions each year, with each grant totaling $25,000 to support them while they complete their dissertation research. This program has been in place since 1990, and has provided more than $1.3 million to qualifying doctoral students studying in the simulation and training fields.

“Cyndee represents the high quality of graduate students whom we attract in to our doctoral programs at FAU, and we are very proud of her achievement in receiving this Fellowship, “ said Dr. Gary W. Perry, dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “Her research is truly interdisciplinary and crosses the boundaries of science and engineering.”  

            Finkel received her Bachelor of Science degree in physics from FAU in 2000, and her Master of Science in physics from the University of Central Florida in 2004. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in the physics department at FAU with an expected graduation date in 2010.

- FAU -

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts ten colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Barry Kaye College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College,   the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.  

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