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May 1, 2019

Undergraduate trio wins Wisconsin Idea Fellowships

Written By: Staff

Three undergraduate students in the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering have earned 2019-20 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships to pursue community-based projects.

 Akshat Khanna
Akshat Khanna

Each year, UW-Madison’s Morgridge Center for Public Service supports undergraduate projects that address relevant issues in local or global communities through the fellowships.

Computer engineering major Akshat Khanna won a fellowship to work with students at Madison’s Black Hawk Middle School to build and maintain an indoor, self-sustaining vertical aquaponics system. Khanna and project partner Lillian Zander, an environmental science major, will analyze active learning’s influence on STEM literacy in students for the project, which also won an American Family Insurance Social Entrepreneurship Award. Their faculty advisor is Lesley Sager, a faculty associate in the UW-Madison School of Human Ecology.

 Akshith Mandepally and Cara Stanker
Akshith Mandepally (left) and Cara Stanker

For their fellowship project, biomedical engineering major Akshith Mandepally and civil engineering major Cara Stanker have created an affordable solar-powered air filtration prototype to reduce household air pollution from combustible fuel in Uganda. In partnership with Kiwoko Hospital in Luwero, Uganda, the two students will refine their product to improve its efficiency, effectiveness and reliability. Their faculty advisor is Ryan McAdams, an associate professor in the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

The Wisconsin Idea Fellowships Program, in its 21st year, provides up to $7,000 for each project. Nine projects across campus won awards this year.