Montana Technological University Student to Present at Posters on the Hill Event


Grace Ostermiller, mechanical engineering student

Grace Ostermiller, a Montana Technological University mechanical engineering student from Billings, MT, has been selected to participate in the Council on Undergraduate Research’s (CUR) 24th annual Posters on the Hill event in Washington, DC on April 20-21, 2020.

Ostermiller will present her poster on Improving the Efficiency of Vacuum Pumps/Air Compressors with Resonant Technology. Montana Tech’s Undergraduate Research Program funded Ostermiller’s research.

“Congratulations to Grace. Presenting in Washington, DC, at Posters on the Hill is a huge honor and an opportunity to inform members of Congress and their staffs about the project and the importance of research experiences for the education of students,” noted Beverly Hartline, Vice Chancellor for Research at Montana Tech. “Grace’s project was selected as one of only 60 from a pool of over 350 applications. We thank Dr. Lucon for his wonderful mentorship. Many of our Montana Tech undergrads perform faculty-mentored research, which is so important to their development and their future careers. Many of our students go on to make a difference in their communities and the world.”

The purpose of the research was to increase the efficiency of an air compressor/vacuum pump by using resonant technology. In applying this technology, we were able to modify an off-the-shelf vacuum pump and improve the device’s efficiency. The results of this project have the potential to bring to market a more efficient air compressor/vacuum pump. It was gratifying to work on this project and be able to identify how the results of this project could positively impact the daily operations of multiple industries.

Grace and her team worked for a year on the undergraduate research project with their mentor Dr. Peter Lucon in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Grace took the challenge of applying engineering fundamentals to solve a real-world problem. “We are proud of Grace and that her efforts on this project will be highlighted at this important event in Washington, DC. This project is an example of what can be accomplished with the application of resonant technology to real-world problems. I am honored to be able to share my experience in resonant systems with our students and community for both the education of our next leaders and the development of solutions for industry,” stated Dr. Lucon.

To be selected, students’ research projects went through a rigorous, highly competitive review process. “I am honored and excited for the opportunity to speak about my work in Montana Tech’s undergraduate research program and contribute to the conversation about the importance of undergraduate research. Montana Tech fosters an environment of hands-on-learning and challenges students to explore their curiosities. I am incredibly grateful for my mentor, Dr. Lucon, and the Montana Tech research office for providing me with the opportunity to do so,” added Ostermiller, who will graduate from Montana Tech in May 2021.