Student Profile

Shardul Nitin Saptarshi

BS, Mechanical Engineering, May 2024

Shardul Nitin Saptarshi playing a guitar.
“I think the best way to grow as an engineer is to apply the concepts that are learned in courses, and go above and beyond the curriculum through projects. ”
Shardul Nitin Saptarshi, undergraduate student
Mechanical engineering

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Why did you choose UB?

I was very athletically inclined in high school; excelling in swimming and tennis was important to me. Initially, the unparalleled support given to student athletes is what drove me to pursue education in America. However, in my senior year, I grew more inclined towards engineering research and innovation. I chose UB because it is a Research One university and offers an excellent mechanical engineering program. I was also offered a generous scholarship, which was very helpful. Although I don’t compete in sports as often, I still enjoy swimming in Alumni Arena or playing tennis on campus in the summer.

What do you like most about engineering at UB?

At UB, there is a plethora of active learning opportunities for any student who has the drive to pursue them. I think the best way to grow as an engineer is to apply the concepts that are learned in courses, and go above and beyond the curriculum through projects. The School of Engineering and Applied Science has a wonderful faculty of professors that encourage thoughtful questions in class, and are always looking for students to work on groundbreaking research projects with them.  If not research, students can work on smaller projects in the many engineering clubs on campus. 

What are you working on right now?

I am the president of UB Robotics, and currently a member of the Crashworthiness of Aerospace Structures and Hybrids (CRASH) lab at UB. I am presently working on a robotic fish for deep sea exploration, and in the club, I am working with my team to restart our VEX Robotics Project to prepare the club for the regional VEX U competition.

Why did you choose UB Robotics, and what do you like best about it?

In high school, I developed an interest in robotics - naturally, UB Robotics seemed like the perfect place for me to learn from like-minded students and get started on small projects to further my passion.

Our club has a rich history. In the past, we have won many national and international competitions, a result of hard work of the highly talented students that have been part of our team. This history inspires me to continue our legacy and introduce more students to the exciting world of automation. 

What else do you do on campus and in the community?

As a researcher in UB’s Embedded Sensing and Computing Lab, I worked on a device to rehabilitate Parkinson’s patients, a smartwatch to rehabilitate Stroke patients, and an ultrasonic anemometer. Last fall I did an internship at 3DATX, where I was researching Non-Dispersive InfraRed (NDIR) sensors for measuring gaseous pollutants. Although research has been challenging, I find it extremely rewarding. I had the opportunity to present my work in the U.S. Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Not only was I able to share my knowledge with some of the brightest minds in the country, I also got to explore the beautiful city of Annapolis!

I also worked as a tech consultant in UBIT, and as a calculus tutor in “The Math Place." I try my best to make time for opportunities outside of engineering as well, I have fond memories of volunteering for international student orientation. It was a wonderful chance to welcome new students and make friends.

What have you done that you are most proud of?

This past summer, I did research in UB’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. I worked in a team of seven SEAS students on an advanced manufacturing project where we modified a 3D printer to support remote monitoring and control. Our machine has the potential to support various artificial intelligence and augmented reality applications, which could potentially revolutionize the modern-day factory by boosting efficiency and improving the safety of workers. Our research paper for this project was accepted into the prestigious ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys), and our team won first place in the Russell L. Agrusa CSE Student Innovation Competition. I have worked on other projects in the past, but this was the first time I was able to publish my work and spread the knowledge.

What are you passionate about?

I am deeply passionate about creating machines that can improve and simplify human life. Currently there exist countless jobs that either require tedious physical labor, or place humans at great risk. I want to build robots that can automate these tasks and make the world a better place.

Has there been a particular faculty or staff member that has been especially influential during your time at UB? 

I am very grateful for the support of Dr. Wenayo Xu. I joined his research lab in my freshman year. This was a time when COVID restrictions were at a peak all over the world, and as a result, I was attending classes online from my home in Dubai. It was very difficult for me to pursue activities outside of class since I was in a different time zone, but Dr. Xu worked with me to make sure I had everything I needed to do well in research. I joined his lab with no formal experience in engineering, but he believed in my potential and gave me a shot. I learned a lot from him and working in his lab gave me a chance to apply my understanding of various concepts. I became more interested in what I was learning in my courses and Dr. Xu’s guidance set me up for many more opportunities.

What are your future plans?

I plan on continuing my research in CRASH Lab and hopefully publish another paper before I graduate. After getting my bachelor’s degree, I want to pursue a master's in mechanical rngineering or robotics to further my knowledge and continue my research.

What is your advice for prospective students?

My advice to prospective students is to utilize the opportunities UB has to offer. Most students worry too much about compromising their GPA and miss out on gaining valuable practical engineering experience and skills. Although doing well in classes is important, it must not be at the expense of missed real world experiences.