Acoustics Students Hit the Right Note at National Competition

Jessica Newton  (left) and Byron Harrison
Two engineering students representing the University of Hartford's undergraduate
acoustics program won a major national competition in June, beating entries from
some of the country's top schools. Jessica Newton and Byron Harrison, recent graduates of the University's acoustics and music program, won first place in a national student design competition held at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Chicago. The acoustics and music program combines an acoustics education in the College of Engineering with a music education at The Hartt School.

Newton and Harrison both graduated summa cum laude in May, 2001 with Bachelors of Science in Engineering. Their submission from the University's undergraduate acoustics program won the $1,000 first prize.

The competition was conducted as a poster session in which submissions were made without names or school affiliations so that they could be evaluated solely on their merits. Students developed detailed designs for a hypothetical collegiate music school facility that included an 800-seat performing arts hall, rehearsal space, practice rooms, and HVAC considerations. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of professional architects and acoustical consultants.

Seventeen posters were submitted by more than 10 schools throughout the United States. Most of the entries were submitted by graduate schools, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Newton, who is from Naples, Fla., is attending the graduate program in architectural acoustics at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Harrison, from West Lafayette, Ohio, recently accepted a position with The Talaske Group, Inc., an architectural and audio consulting company located in Oak Park, Ill.

"This is a very significant win for our students," said Robert Celmer '78, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the University's acoustics program. "It further solidifies our status as a nationally recognized program."