“I know it sounds cliché, but I want to build robots and I want to be making prosthetic limbs and braces that would help athletes to continue to move right after surgery.” – Maia Rivers, Class of 2018

Helping people and changing the world is anything but cliché. As the field of engineering continues to advance, Vaughn College is committed to staying ahead of the curve with the latest in cutting-edge innovation and engineering technology. Its 3D prototyping innovation center―within the department of engineering and technology―is equipped with 3D printers and scanners to give students the opportunity of putting their classroom knowledge into action. Providing such an innovative atmosphere is paramount to creating pioneers in the industry who can go on to do great things and change the world we live in for the better.

Prosthetic ‘Fin’ Made From 3D Printers Making a Splash with Amputees

Groundbreaking advancements using 3D printers are making a big splash in the world of prosthetics, as developers have created a revolutionary underwater prosthetic leg called “the Fin,” which gives amputees a second chance at swimming, according to CNN.

Diving into the need

Todd Goldstein, Director of Northwell Ventures 3D Printing Laboratory in Manhasset, New York, designed and fabricated “the Fin” with the use of a 3D printer to meet the needs of active amputees who needed an easier way to navigate in the water and maximize their propulsion while they swim.

Putting “the Fin” to the test

The latest engineering advancements that utilize 3D printing make this innovative swim leg easy to use for lower leg amputees. They attach it to their own prosthetic, which allows them to easily get in and out of the water without changing prosthetics. And it is designed with multiple holes that allows water to flow through the V-shaped fin as the swimmer kicks, giving them maximum propulsion.

Embracing Wounded Warriors

After losing his leg in Afghanistan 14 years ago, retired Marine Corporal Dan Lasko was selected by Northwell Health to test this state-of-the-art swimming leg. His passion as a triathlete, as well as having two sons who love the water, made Lasko the perfect candidate for the job.

Lasko said he’s been in contact with some of his fellow wounded warriors who are also interested in the device. The Department of Veteran Affairs states 2.6 percent of war veterans return home missing a limb. And according to the Amputee Coalition of America, at least 185,000 lower leg amputations are performed every year, which means there are approximately two million amputees in the United States.

With such staggering numbers, innovative prosthetic devices like “the Fin” are making a difference in quality of life by helping get amputees back in the water.

Vaughn College offers students a unique opportunity to turn their dreams into a reality and create incredible innovations of their own. Learn more about the College’s wide range of engineering and engineering technology degrees and see how a degree from Vaughn can prepare you for an exciting career in this expanding field.


The “friendly skies” may become eco-friendlier. Researchers at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio are working toward reducing the nation’s total use of fossil fuels. Your likely question: “How?” The answer: By developing alternative aircraft designs with the use of electric-powered low-carbon propulsion technology.

A new frontier

More than 42,000 flights and 2.5 million airline passengers are in the air every day, with 5,000 aircraft in the sky at any given time. And with air traffic passenger demand projected to surge even higher in 2018, the skies will be busier than ever. From the beginning of flight travel, carbon-based fuels have been powering commercial airlines, leaving a trail of fossil fuel emissions behind them. But this heavy carbon footprint situation may be changing.

Researchers from Glenn are setting the stage for planes that will require using less fossil fuels in the future. Aeronautical engineers are taking a closer look at how airplanes can be revamped to use electric power that would provide the plane’s thrust and power for flight, while simultaneously reducing the plane’s energy consumption, emissions and noise level. Like hybrid or turboelectric power that is used in cars, boats and trains, NASA hopes to guide the aircraft industry into using hybrid electric and turboelectric propulsion, as opposed to relying solely on gas turbines.

However, these alternative aircraft designs wouldn’t be “flying solo” on electricity just yet. The alternative system would combine electric motors and generators with turbine engines.

A cleaner future

Low-carbon propulsion technology can make each flight up to 30 percent more fuel efficient and require lower operational costs, which is good news for airlines that have been hit hard with high jet fuel prices. Although the day that we see an electric-powered airplane may be years away, the idea of it is literally fueling excitement for a cleaner future.

Interesting in learning more about Vaughn’s programs? Take a look here to see everything we have to offer.

Scientists and robotics experts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California are developing an origami-inspired robot named PUFFER to explore areas in space that are too risky for full-fledged rovers. Its design is described as a lightweight, pop-up folding explorer that can flatten itself and tuck in its wheels, allowing maneuverability into places that rovers can’t go. Just like the origami art of paper folding, PUFFER’s design allows these microbots to be flattened like cards and stacked one on top of the other.

Incredible Features

PUFFER was put to the test during the past year-and-a-half in areas that ranged from the rugged terrain of the Mojave Desert in California to the snowy hills in Antarctica in the hopes that it will someday make it to the sands of the planet Mars. It’s designed to move up 45-degree slopes and investigate overhangs as a companion to larger robots. It can even drop into pits or craters, go behind sand dunes, and explore steep slopes―taking exploration to hard-to-reach locations.

“They can do parallel science with a rover, so you can increase the amount you’re doing in a day,” said Jaakko Karras, the project manager at JPL. It was Karras who was experimenting with origami designs while he was in grad school at UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab. He came up with the robot’s body design as he worked on developing robotics that were based on natural forms ch as the movements of animals and insects.

How PUFFER Was Made

It took a collaborative effort to get the robot to where it is today. Robotics experts and scientists at JPL worked together to create the microbot, and partnered with outside experts to fine-tune specific movements and abilities. The four wheels were created on a 3D printer, and gained treads that allow the robot to climb inclines. The origami design allows the wheels to fold over the main body, giving PUFFER the ability to crawl. Biomimetic Millisystems Lab developed a “skittering walk” that ensures the bot inches forward, one wheel at a time, without slipping. Distant Focus Corporation lent sight to the project, providing a high-resolution micro-imager which can see objects that are a fraction of the diameter of human hair.

Onboard Instruments

Solar panels on PUFFER’s belly keep the microbot on the move and allow it to flip over to recharge in the sun. It can move about 2,050 feet (625 meters) on one battery charge driving on a level dirt path. Depending on the number of onboard instruments, that distance may fluctuate. Currently, it operates via Bluetooth and can be controlled remotely. Advances in robotics and engineering have enabled it to act as a scientist in its own right with the addition of an instrument that allows it to sample water for organic material. The team says a spectrometer could also be added to give it the ability to study the chemical makeup of its environment.

The Future

PUFFER’s future is looking bigger and brighter as the JPL team envisions future designs to be as large as a breadbox and possibly autonomic―allowing more than one microbot to conduct science as a mobile team.

What may have once been thought of as science fiction may soon become science fact. The JPL team is hopeful their robot may someday be partnering on future planetary missions, as its composition includes several Mars-compatible materials, including heritage technology from the Viking, Pathfinder and Phoenix missions. “Small robotic explorers like PUFFER could change the way we do science on Mars,” said Karras.

Don’t miss the change to learn more about Vaughn’s engineering, technology, management and aviation programs at our Open House on Saturday, November 11 and 18. Space is limited – reserve your spot today!

The PUFFER project is a Game Changing Development (GCD) program. The project is managed by JPL. The GCD program investigates ideas and approaches that could solve significant technological problems and revolutionize future space endeavors. GCD is part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Move over, first class. Air travel as we know it may be taking a back seat to modular airplanes, offering passengers a “cruise ship-like” experience with the comforts of home.

Let’s face it. Commercial flying leaves much to be desired: crammed seating with limited legroom, few dining options, and basically nowhere else to go. All of this may be changing, and it could happen sooner than we think.

Is this the future of air travel?

Last December, innovators at Airbus revealed Transpose, a futuristic modular cabin concept that was in the works at their Silicon Valley labs. This full-sized Airbus A330 prototype takes the concept from cargo planes and applies it to passenger planes.

Here is how it would work:

Just as palettes of cargo are loaded onto cargo planes, Transpose engineers have designed a way to load pre-built modules onto commercial planes―each with specific “experiences.” Imagine being able to roam freely about the cabin and stop off at a coffee shop or work off a few calories at a cycling studio?

Check out this video to see the inner workings of a modular plane.

How soon will they fly?

As exciting as all this sounds, you won’t be booking a ticket any time soon. The Transpose engineering team is still facing some design challenges, not to mention getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Transpose has already engaged in conversations with the FAA and hopes to have its aircraft flying “within a few years.” This estimate, however, may be premature, considering the strict rules and regulations of the FAA. The FAA has not officially commented on the project but did state―depending on the complexity of the project and the experience of the manufacturer―the certification process can take anywhere from less than one year to more than five years.

How much will a ticket cost?

Cost also comes into play, as today’s avid air travelers are already paying a premium for extra legroom and the niceties of first class. Transpose engineers predict modular cabin seats would be priced at the premium economy level, but this prediction depends upon whether the seating density remains the same as a standard aircraft. Ultimately, the airlines will have the final say in determining the price of a ticket.

In an everchanging world of technology, Airbus has a proven track record backed with years of experience building airplanes. Transpose is just another example of how innovation and engineering can one day make flying the friendly skies even friendlier.

For more of the latest innovations in aviation, engineering, management and more―check out our monthly newsletter. (Sign-up below!)

Aviators across the country will fly high on August 19 as they celebrate National Aviation Day, which recognizes the history and developments in the field of aviation. Established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this holiday was declared a national observation to coincide with Orville Wright’s birthday and his significant contribution to powered flight.

In honor of National Aviation Day, we’ve put together the top 10 reasons for becoming a pilot. See if you have the “right stuff” to take your career to new heights:

  1. Fulfill your lifelong passion—Flying is addicting, and it can fuel your passion to make your dreams a reality. If flying is in your blood, then the sky’s the limit for a soaring career.
  2. View life from a different perspective—Not only do pilots get a bird’s-eye view of seeing the world, but their job experiences can prove humbling, as they realize the magnitude of the skies around them.
  3. Become a member of an elite groupAbout .2% of the US population has a pilot’s license, making this a select group comprised of an exceptional few.
  4. Job flexibility—Experienced pilots have the luxury of working from various cities or wherever their jobs take them.
  5. See the world—Pilots get the unique opportunity to travel the world, experience exotic destinations, and learn about different cultures.
  6. Financially rewarding—Pilots have the potential to earn excellent salaries as their careers advance. Although airline and commercial pilots both fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft, airline pilots earned higher salaries than commercial pilots in 2016, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  7. Improve your flight skills—Pilots never stop learning since they undergo continuous training to improve their skills. It’s a career that keeps you sharp and in-demand.
  8. Advance your career—The aviation industry opens doors to a variety of exclusive career paths. A pilot can climb the ranks, beginning as an officer and then progressing to captain, check and training captain, management, as well as transitioning to other types of aircraft such as charter flights, rescue missions, firefighting and aerial applications, just to name a few.
  9. Build confidence and sense of accomplishment—Taking your first solo flight may be the most satisfying and confidence-building experience of your lifetime. Pilots will likely learn more about themselves while training than they will at any other times in their lives. They are trained to make on-the-spot decisions and judge challenging situations, sometimes without any warning.
  10. Pilot shortage fuels demand—With the crippling pilot shortage projected over the next 20 years, there’s never been a better time for aviation enthusiasts to embrace their passion for flight and train to becoming a pilot. According to a recent report from Boeing, the aviation giant projects a staggering demand of more than 637,000 pilots by 2036.

If you’re interested in becoming a pilot, or want to work in―or around―aviation, then Vaughn College may be the institution to make it all happen for you. With certificate, associate, bachelor and master’s degree programs spanning various areas of the industry, Vaughn offers aviation enthusiasts a wide range of options where they can find the perfect career fit.

For more of the latest innovations in aviation, engineering, management and more―check out our monthly newsletter. (Sign-up below!)

Today’s students are facing some serious sticker shock as the cost of a college education continues to rise. Investing in yourself is one of the greatest ways to spend your money, so it’s important to do your homework and narrow down the best colleges that offer the greatest bang for your buck. Last month, Vaughn College was named to Money Magazine’s 2017 “Top Colleges for Your Money” list, placing it among some of the country’s finest and affordable institutions.

Making the cut

With a long history of academic excellence and commitment to student success, Vaughn ranked 162 among 711 colleges and universities based on factors including affordability, quality of education and alumni success. Money Magazine studied 2,400 colleges and used 27 data points to compile its final list. In its ranking, the magazine applauded Vaughn’s facilities and offerings, unique mix of academic programs and the high-demand for jobs in the industries the College serves.

Vaughn also claimed the highest socioeconomic mobility rate in Money Magazine’s rankings, echoing the college’s recent appointment as the top institution in the US. for upward mobility by The Equality of Opportunity Project, as reported earlier this year in The New York Times.

Choosing the right college

Choosing the best college isn’t all about dollars and cents. Just as you wouldn’t attend culinary school to become an accountant, you want to find a college that caters to your career goals and offers the best programs to fuel your passion.

Vaughn is dedicated to empowering the next generation with a spectrum of fields designed to meet today’s most exciting engineering and technology, management and aviation fields. With degrees ranging from associate, bachelor, graduate and certificate majors, Vaughn offers students a futureproof education and various pathways to reach their goals. The proof is in the numbers. Ninety-eight percent of Vaughn graduates are employed or continue their education within one year with 81 percent in a related field.

A message from the president

“Choosing to attend Vaughn College for your degree is about making a valuable investment in your future,” said Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo. “By having outside validation of the quality of our degree programs, students and families can feel confident that Vaughn is an institution that provides an engaging educational experience and long-term success.”

For more of the latest innovations in aviation, engineering, management and more―check out our monthly newsletter. (Sign-up below!)

Left-handed pilots are more prevalent in the aviation industry than one may think. Since about 10 percent of the population is left-handed, it makes one wonder why a large percentage of pilots are also left-handed, as many as 40 percent according to those in the field. This disproportionate ratio raises the question, “Are the challenges the same for right-handed pilots compared to left-handed pilots?”  In honor of International Left Handers Day, we want to recognize the “lefties” who are commandeering the skies, and touch down on any challenges they may face.

Living in a right-handed world

Many lefties consider themselves ambidextrous since they’ve learned to adapt to living in a right-handed world. And when it comes to flying an airplane, left-handed pilots say it’s all about the same. Pilots use both hands to fly an airplane and undergo rigorous training to master the task. Ask almost any left-handed pilot and they’ll say it really doesn’t make much . History speaks for itself as some of the most famous  aviators of our time are left-handed, including astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell and the late Wally Schirra, just to name a few.

All hands on deck

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know there are two pilots in the cockpit―the captain and the first officer. When pilots begin their training, they are seated on the left in the captain’s seat with the yoke, or control column, on their left and the throttle in the middle on the right side. The flight instructor sits on the right in the first captain’s seat with the controls reversed. Since pilots need to know how to navigate from both positions, their left-handedness doesn’t really come into play since they need to master flying using either their right or left hands.

Getting it “write”

One drawback for most left-handed pilots is having to jot down notes while flying. They say it becomes second nature to them as they simply switch hands when they need to. Many left-handed pilots say learning to manipulate a throttle or stick is nowhere near as complex as learning how to write with your less-dominant hand.

August 13 is International Left Handers Day. If you are left-handed or know someone who is, then give yourself a hand with the knowledge that left-handed people are always in their right minds.

Interested in learning more about a career in Aviation?

Join our Aviation Training Institute Information Session on August 22!

Robots are developing emotions, and not in ways that you may think. Today’s technology is advancing the evolving relationship between robots and humans, moving it beyond the realm of “artificial intelligence” (AI).

New Advances

Although transformative advances have recently shifted AI to be referred to as “machine-learning systems,” there’s more than meets the eye with these mechanical wonders. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is quietly emerging, adding some personality and a bit of emotion to existing intelligence. These advancements allow for more natural human interaction and the ability to develop motivation to solve problems in creative ways.

Autonomous robots are designed for the capability to gain information and work independently for extended periods of time. AGI now enhances these abilities by adding humanlike common sense, making the robots react in more clever ways when engaging in problem-solving tasks. “The future direction of automation and robotics is to make life simpler for future generations,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, chair of Vaughn College’s Engineering and Technology Department. “Robots can make life more relaxing by taking the stress out of the workplace and relieve some of the pressures that workers experience.”

The mechatronic, electrical and mechanical engineering programs at Vaughn College provide a solid foundation for students to secure jobs in the field of robotics. “Hands-on experience is critical to gain the necessary knowledge to be successful,” Rahemi said. “Our World Championship Robotics Team is the perfect example of how engineering students come together to apply their knowledge and achieve success.” As the technology behind autonomous robots continues to gain momentum, so does the demand for engineers to maintain it. “As professors, we never stop learning,” said Rahemi. “This constant flow of knowledge passes down to our students—giving them the edge they need to be relevant in the field.”

How industries are using robots to get ahead

A variety of industries are seeing autonomous robots as valuable assets to their businesses. This doesn’t mean robots are taking over the workforce. In fact, they can assist in making human employees’ jobs easier and more streamlined while helping businesses run more efficiently. The automotive industry is a field that is no stranger to using robots. For years, car makers have used robots to assist workers with daily tasks by facilitating more efficient, flexible and precise production lines, resulting in faster production times.

The world is seeing amazing advances in the medical industry, which is now using autonomous robots. Hospitals, for example, can use autonomous robots to quickly deliver lab results and pick up patient samples while navigating through hallways, which will free up time for health care professionals to tend to their patients and other responsibilities. And since some autonomous robots can detect emotion in the human voice, they can be used in more interactive settings to improve productivity and customer experience. Skilled surgeons are using a robot’s pinpoint accuracy to assist in delicate and complex surgeries and procedures. “Scientists, engineers and other industry experts are the sources behind this AI, giving life to the robots and fueling the future of autonomous robotic technology,” Rahemi said. “As much as robots are designed and programmed to help humans do a task, we still need human intelligence to make it all happen.”


With virtually endless advancements on the horizon, it’s just a matter of time before the world sees what researchers will develop next in the field of autonomous robotics. “Demand is skyrocketing as the industry is seeking talented engineers to be the human intelligence behind AI,” Rahemi explained. “The field is growing and expanding before our eyes and Vaughn is committed to educating our students to be the future intelligence of tomorrow. Our mechatronic engineering programs are testament to this commitment.”

Learn more about our mechatronic engineering degree.

Travelers may need to pack their patience this summer as an estimated 234 million passengers are expected to take to the skies. And, as airport delays tend to occur more frequently in the summer than they do in the winter, savvy travelers should think ahead when planning their vacation destinations.

MileCards.com, a loyalty credit card analyst, sorted out airport on-time arrival data from the department of transportation from 2007-2016 and compiled the on-time ratings for the country’s 50 busiest airports.

Narrowing it down, findings revealed that 40 percent of the top 50 airports have more airport delays in the summer than in the winter, including the popular destinations such as Atlanta, Boston, New York, Orlando, San Antonio, both Dallas area airports, and all three Washington, DC area airports.

Those venturing to Hawaii are in luck, as Kahului and Honolulu top the list for on time summer travel. Other western destinations that ranked among the most favorable were Salt Lake City and Orange County. For the Midwest, Minneapolis and Detroit came in as the best for on-time summer flights.

California tends to be a vacation hot spot, and travelers heading to San Jose and Oakland are good to go, because these two airports come in at numbers eight and 11, respectively, as the best airports for fewest summer airport delays. San Francisco, on the other hand, had more summer delays, partly due to coastal fog and parallel runways.

What airports are doing

No one wants to experience  airport delays―customers and airlines alike. In preparation for their busiest season, some airports are instituting the following to assist passengers during a high-traffic time of year:

  • Increase operations staff to keep delays to a minimum.
  • Increase the number of ambassadors to help passengers navigate seamlessly in and out of the airport.
  • Offer mobile phone apps designed to help passengers navigate where they need to be, monitor wait times and keep track of parking.
  • Have management work closely with airline partners to ensure facilities are adequately resourced and maintained.

What you can do

Since summer travel airport delays may occur, experts agree that being prepared and having a good attitude are key. Here are some travel tips before you take off:

  • Check for waived change fees before you check in.
  • Check if there’s severe weather in the forecast.
  • Use inflight Wi-Fi to rebook your flight if you think you might miss your connection.
  • Book earlier flights that tend to be on-time compared to flights that will leave later in the day.
  • Use certain travel credit cards that may offer compensation for delayed flights.

For those traveling with small children, parents may want to pack travel games and snacks to make the time go faster while they wait to board their flight. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying a safe summer vacation.

Happy travels!

At some point, you may have experienced the resonating sound of an airplane flying overhead, or, as a passenger, heard the rumble of a jet engine. If you haven’t noticed already, airplanes are getting quieter as new engine technology is making planes more efficient by reducing noise pollution, thus allowing for more eco-friendly flights.

Quieter skies/less pollution

Less noise in the air means less pollution overall. And we’re not just talking noise pollution. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking measures in cooperation with the aviation community to not only control aircraft noise but engine emissions. Captain Pete Russo, PhD, aviation department chair and assistant professor of aviation at Vaughn College, weighed in on the topic. “Part of the modernization from ground-based technology to satellite-based technology allows aircraft to change flight patterns, making for a more direct and efficient path—reducing time, fuel and fuel burn,” Russo stated. He explained other aviation measures that are in effect at airports, including:

  • Reducing transit traffic—Giving fewer planes clearance to fly at given times.
  • Utilizing computer sequencing programs—Limiting noise and engine smoke is helped by allowing a fewer number of planes to sit on the runway with their engines running.
  • Alternating departure and approach flight paths—Having flexible flight paths prevents planes from flying over the same air space, giving those on the ground who are in a flight path a break from overhead noise.
  • Soundproofing nearby buildings—Vaughn College is just one example of how soundproofing buildings significantly is decreasing noise pollution for students and faculty. Situated adjacent to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Vaughn underwent a three-year, $26 million grant-funded project to soundproof its buildings and classrooms.

Soaring advances

Russo stands optimistic as he’s seen firsthand how the aviation industry is leaning in the direction of “greener” flights. “Our engineering students at Vaughn are in the lab as we speak, designing 3D printed composite airplane parts,” said Russo. “Lighter parts and lighter engines allow for more efficient planes. I’m confident it won’t be long before we see electric-powered planes in our skies.”

Major airlines switching to quieter planes

According to a recent article published in the Times Ledger, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are taking the initiative to reduce airplane noise over Queens, New York and LaGuardia Airport by discontinuing the use of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80s aircraft and opting to use “quieter and more fuel-efficient” planes. Once the biggest fleet in American Airlines history, the MD-80s will be replaced with the more fuel-efficient Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s, Boeing 737s, and a limited number of MD-90 airplanes as replacements. Russo explained how other carriers will most likely follow suit as older planes such as the MD80 are louder and less efficient.

Earth Day’s Mission

Although noise pollution is not something you can visually see, it is there nonetheless. This year’s Earth Day campaign theme is Environmental and Climate Literacy. Making airplanes more fuel-efficient goes hand in hand with Earth Day’s mission for protecting the environment from climate change and educating the public on protecting our planet.

Russo’s take

The movement to make airplanes lighter and more efficient is underway. Russo proudly said Vaughn is in the race to develop technology for a more Earth-friendly flight. “The ‘greening’ of airplanes will be a monumental change in the aviation industry,” Russo stated. “There’s no opposition?the momentum is unstoppable. At this rate, the sky’s the limit.”