Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac summer program enables engineering student to test the waters

April 05, 2022

Luke Desilva receiving a $5,000 grant from the Quinnipiac University Interdisciplinary Program for Research and Scholarship

When Luke Desilva ’22 earned a $5,000 grant from the Quinnipiac University Interdisciplinary Program for Research and Scholarship (QUIP-RS), his dream became within reach.

Majoring in civil engineering, he worked with Kimberly DiGiovanni, associate teaching professor of civil engineering, and John Greenleaf, associate professor of civil engineering, in testing the water quality and quantity in the nearby Mill River. Using various technologies that he learned about in class, they determined what coliforms lived in the ecosystem.

The QUIP-RS is an immersive, multi-disciplinary research program that grants undergraduate students a stipend and research funds to work alongside a faculty mentor for eight weeks during the summer.

“The program is beyond anything I expected,” said Desilva. “The students and I gained experiential learning while also participating in activities such as hiking Sleeping Giant, playing volleyball and sharing our research projects.”

During Bobcat Weekend last October, the students presented their research to the university community.

“Some institutions have similar programs, but they tend to be field-specific or program-specific,” said Alexandre de Lencastre, professor of biology and co-chair of the QUIP-RS. “Ours is unique because it is interdisciplinary and collaborative. Undergraduates benefit by doing their own research with mentors who are experts in the field and learn about the breadth and depth of scholarship by observing the variety of projects conducted by their peers.”

Desilva said he hopes that his work will continue through future students.

“The Mill River flows into Long Island Sound,” he said. “My goal is to clean the Mill River and put a rain garden in it. Through my research, I want to show the green infrastructure. Someday, I want to establish a foundation that focuses on collecting water samples, gathering data and studying the results. I also want to mentor a civil engineering student through the QUIP-RS and pick up where I left off. It’s my way of giving back and paying it forward.”

Chuck Saia ’91, MBA ’94, a member of the Quinnipiac Board of Trustees, author of “You Got This Kid! Words of Advice for Young Leaders,” and an advocate for environmental sustainability efforts, also sponsored Desilva’s research. Saia founded the You Got This Kid! Leadership Foundation, which focuses on personal and professional development.

Members of the university who would like to support students can make a gift to QUIP-RS here.

Students interested in learning more about applying for a QUIP-RS grant should email de Lencastre at alexandre.delencastre@qu.edu. The application submission deadline is April 8.

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