As undergraduates, Industrial and Systems Engineering major Masser Ghannam and her Senior Design Project teammates were excited to create a cutting-edge machine learning AI model that can detect agricultural anomalies. She looks forward to being a part of the future in this emerging field.
My dad, a Rutgers alumnus, spoke so highly of his experience at Rutgers and how the university cares for its students that I decided to switch to Rutgers at the last minute after having committed to a different university.
I chose ISE as it gave me the opportunity to go into so many fields and offered a multitude of future career options – such as manufacturing, consulting, supply chain, technology, and business development – to test out and find my ideal fit. I love problem solving and found I could really expand my abilities in ISE.
Your Senior Design Project uses drones and a robotic dog to create an AI model to identify discrepancies in plant growth. When did you start work and what results have you generated?
We started work in February of our junior year, first doing research in agriculture in New Jersey, and reaching out to professionals in the field before expanding to create a working AI model that can index pant health and create predictive weed maps.
What most excited you about your project?
The most exciting part was knowing that we were working on something really cutting-edge. It’s been incredible to see graduate and PhD research similar to ours coming out as we’ve been working. As undergrads, to see we were working on something being researched at such a higher level was amazing. The future applicability of analyzing agricultural yields through image processing is endless – and I can’t wait to be a part of it all.
What was the most challenging thing about your project?
Since our project was in such an emerging field, one of our biggest challenges was that we didn’t have much to go on technically speaking and so struggled on some technical aspects.
Has the project impacted your plans for the future?
I see a bright future for our project. If expanded, we could revolutionize lowering the use of unneeded chemicals in agricultural settings. And with growing populations and issues with food security, it could really contribute to taking steps to improve global food insecurity.
It has undoubtedly changed my plans for the future. I’d originally intended to go on to law school, but after completing the project, I believe engineering is where I am truly meant to be.
Have you learned anything about yourself at RU that surprised you?
I fell in love with fields I never considered. I wasn’t an initial fan of software or coding, but once I became comfortable, I saw so many possibilities and applications. I lean very heavily now in creating a future career path focused on technology.
Do you have any advice for incoming students?
It can be difficult, but Rutgers SoE – and especially ISE – are full of the brightest, most promising people you’ll ever encounter. It’s easy to be intimidated, but being confident and well-prepared will be the most important aspect for having a successful undergraduate experience.
What three to five words describe your RU SoE experience?
Character building. Hard work. Invaluable.