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Projects Day 2019

Projects day turns 20

More than 800 cadets presented the results of their year-long capstone and independent research projects at Projects Day 2019, the 20th anniversary of the United States Military Academy’s annual showcase of presentations, poster sessions, theses defenses, performances and more that represent the best of cadet intellect, creativity, and tenacity. Projects ran the gamut from artificial intelligence, 3-D reconstructions, and genomics to U.S. foreign military relations, sovereignty in cyberspace, and Shakespeare. [PHOTOS]

“Our nation, as well as our Army, is expecting a lot from our graduates regarding the challenges we face,” said BG Cindy Jebb ’82, Dean of the Academic Board. “Projects Days is a chance to show how West Point is working on these challenges.”

While cadets gained in-depth knowledge about their own specific subject areas, the hundreds of hours they spent working on their projects also provided them with valuable general lessons they can take into their careers as Army officers.

“Working on my research project provided me with interdisciplinary experience,” said CDT Ben Sims ’19, who was the project manager for the Adaptable Cargo Round, a project with the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering. “The biggest value I’m taking away from Projects Day is being able to work with a diverse team.”

“The most important lesson I learned is time management,” said CDT Corinna Cicci ’19, who analyzed more than 16,000 menus for her Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering project, titled “Defining the Vernacular South Using the Prevalence of Southern Food.”

CDT Jared Ellis ’19, one of the team members who worked on the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition Auto-Nav project with the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, remarked that Projects Days taught him to communicate something complex to a variety of audiences. “We’ve had the head of Cyber Command, dozens of distinguished visitors, USMA plebes, and a number of middle school students stop by, and we’ve had to change the way we talk about our project to each group,” Ellis said.

For CDT Abigail Halbrook ’19, who worked on a Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership project that investigated correlations between running characteristics and performance, the biggest thing she learned were the steps to solving an unknown. “Just being able to go through the process of a capstone project from research question to results will help me be a better platoon leader,” she said.

Speaking of process, CDT Peter Previte ’19, who presented a poster on “Hitting for the Anti-Cycle” for the Department of Math, said that Projects Day is proof that the transformative process the Academy uses for cadets ultimately works. “I remember walking around Projects Day as a plebe and thinking, ‘I can’t ever do this,’” Previte said, “and now I’m here.”