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CME student wins second place in Image of Research contest

Alexandra Del Carmen Basantes Defaz

Congratulations to Materials Engineering student Alexandra Del Carmen Basantes Defaz, of Ecuador, on winning second place in the engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Science category with her “Intelligent Welding” photograph in UIC’s Image of Research contest.

Her image will be on exhibit at UIC’s Richard Daley Library and the Library of Health Sciences from Nov. 1 through Jan. 30., and featured on light pole banners around campus. She also will be honored and receive a cash prize during an awards reception featuring the winners and the finalists for this year’s 10th Anniversary exhibition, which will take place at Gallery 400 on Oct. 24.

The description accompanying the “Intelligent Welding” picture provides a deeper look into the research it portrays and the student involved.

“I am not your stereotypical welder. I am an M.S. student in the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering conducting research in UIC’s Welding Laboratory under the direction of Professors Ernesto Indacochea and Didem Ozevin. I am researching traditional welding techniques and autonomous welding in “real-time” to avoid defects. It addresses weld quality assurance by developing a combined real-time diagnosis, decision, and control system based on multi-sensor fusion and machine learning methodology. The major technology innovation of the research is that a welding machine will be able to make intelligent decisions in response to process variables, disturbances, and tool deteriorations. The picture was taken on February 28, 2017, in the lab. It represents the professionalism of understanding fundamentals and the power of simplicity. Having some expertise in welding has allowed me to excel in my research. It also shows the stark contrast of perception and reality. In the picture, I am focused to detail while commanding a metal-melting welder held inches away from my face as sparks fly. What you can’t see in the picture is that I am a 5’1” tall woman. Like the bright arc in the picture.”

The Image of Research is an annual interdisciplinary exhibit competition organized by the Graduate College and University Library to showcase the breadth and diversity of research at UIC.

Each year, students enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program at UIC are invited to submit an image they created along with a brief précis of how the image relates to the student’s overall research. A multi-disciplinary jury reviews the submissions and awards prizes to first-, second- and third-place winners and three honorable mentions for still-image submissions, and first-, second- and third-place winners for moving-image submissions. Criteria for judging include: the originality of the image and the research it represents; the relationship between the image and the research; and overall aesthetic appeal of the image. All winning entries can be found online.

Learn more about CME’s Graduate Studies program at