Montana Tech Student to Present at Posters on the Hill Event

04/30/2019

ben-suslavich.jpgBen Suslavich, a senior majoring in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Montana Tech, has been selected to present his Army Research Lab/Montana Tech Summer Undergraduate Research Project (SURF) funded poster in Washington DC at the Council on Undergraduate Research 23rd Posters on the Hill event. Suslavich will present on April 30, 2019.

“Each year, Posters on the Hill features a wide spectrum of fascinating research, scholarship, and creative inquiry by some of the country’s most gifted student researchers,” said CUR Executive Officer Elizabeth L. Ambos. “It provides overwhelming evidence of the benefits of investment in undergraduate research not only for students, faculty mentors, institutions, and communities but also for the nation and the world.”

Suslavich chose Montana Tech due to the small class sizes and the opportunity for undergraduate research. “Montana Tech is unique as far as engineering school for it provides smart and passionate undergraduate students the opportunity to research solutions to real problems in our world which is why I believe that many of our graduates are in such demand.

To be selected, students’ research projects went through a rigorous, highly competitive review process. Suslavich, from Virginia MN, is one of two students from Montana universities selected to present. His poster is titled, Synthesis and Characterization of the Hydroxamic Acid N,3-dihydroxy-2-napthamide and its Copper (II) Complex: An Investigation on Keto/Enol Forms and Rare Earth Flotation. “It is hard to emphasize just how important research in mineral processing is,” noted Suslavich. “The elements which comprise our phones, missiles, airplanes, and so much more does not appear magically. Rare-earth minerals require highly advanced techniques to be made suitable for use in the devices of today as well as tomorrow. At Montana Tech, we use some of the most sophisticated techniques from electrical resistance tomography, to quantum mechanical modeling, in order to advance the mineral processing field. In this research, a highly custom chemical which, for all intents and purposes, did not exist had to be made from scratch. One of the major challenges of making something, which does not exist, is that you are in uncharted waters and sometimes it is hard to know if you are heading in the right direction until land is in sight. Once you find the new land, it is one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world.”

“Ben worked for me on this flotation project for over two years and, in the process, served as an important extra set of hands for helping setup, conduct and sample the various flotation tests,” noted Dr. Courtney Young, Department Head of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department. Having help reduces the time that it takes to get these types of tests done. Undergraduate research like this has been a great tool across the campus and particularly in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering for getting students interested in graduate school!”

“Undergraduate research is very important at Montana Tech, and our faculty are wonderful mentors, who foster their students’ curiosity and discoveries,” explained Dr. Bev Hartline, Vice Chancellor for Research at Montana Tech. “Congratulations to Ben and Dr. Young. It is a great honor to be selected to present one’s research on Capitol Hill to congressional members, staff, and other government officials.”

Suslavich will graduate on May 4, 2019 and will continue on to graduate school at Montana Tech pursuing a master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering.