Scholar, alumni honored for research at pair of international conferences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Eberly College of Science student and Schreyer Honors Scholar Tice Harkins received first place in the poster competition at the Joint Conference of Three Societies in Krakow, Poland, held July 2-6, for work to understand blood clot formation. Joshua Riley, a 2017 Penn State and Schreyer Honors College alumnus who graduated with a degree in biomechanical engineering, received third place in the competition. 

Harkins and Phil Crompton, a 2018 Penn State and Schreyer Honors College alumnus who graduated with degrees in biomechanical engineering and mechanical engineering, were among the 12 finalists in the bachelor of science-level poster competition at the World Congress of Biomechanics in Dublin, Ireland, held July 8-12.

Representing Penn State’s Artificial Heart and Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Labs, Harkins presented his research on the way geometric irregularities presented in flowing blood causes clots. The work holds personal meaning for the rising senior and premedicine major from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

“Both of my grandfathers died of heart attacks in their early fifties,” said Harkins, who has a minor in biomedical engineering. “I knew I would be genetically predisposed to have heart disease. I really wanted to try to use science and mathematics to study exactly how heart disease progresses.”

Harkins, the recipient of an Erickson Discovery Grant for each of the last two years, hopes to continue his research at the University of Auckland next summer.

“I’ve always been genuinely interested in problem-solving,” he said. “I’m almost addicted to trying to solve problems. I think the most important problems to solve are the ones that can have a direct impact on human life and quality of life.

“Medicine would allow me to combine problem-solving with actually benefiting people’s quality of life.”

Keefe Manning, professor of biomedical engineering, head of the Artificial Heart and Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Labs, and associate dean for academic affairs for the Schreyer Honors College; and postdoctoral scholar Bryan Good attended and spoke at the World Congress of Biomechanics.

“Tice started working in my lab his sophomore year. I was impressed with his acumen towards experiments and recognized his potential,” Manning said. “His efforts and consistency have resulted in new avenues for my lab to investigate clotting particularly associated with cardiovascular devices. Given his time commitment and results, I encouraged him to submit abstracts to these conferences and to be recognized on the international stage is a testament to his dedication and intellectual curiosity with research.”

Harkins received travel funding from the Eberly College of Science, the Schreyer Honors College, and the Office of Undergraduate Education. He said the best part of his travels was being able to listen to experts from around the globe speak about developing technologies in his field.

“Seeing what was out there was just incredible,” Harkins said.

About the Schreyer Honors College

The Schreyer Honors College promotes academic excellence with integrity, the building of a global perspective, and creation of opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Schreyer Honors Scholars total more than 2,000 students at University Park and 20 Commonwealth Campuses. They represent the top 2 percent of students at Penn State who excel academically and lead on campus.

Last Updated August 29, 2018