Competition introduces students to majors

Raynor Denitzio

The College of Engineering hosted its first annual Engineering Student Design Competition at the Jake Nevin Field House on Friday.

“The purpose was to get the freshman students exposed to different engineering majors.” said Fulmer. “By having this project, they are able to incorporate all the different majors into one semester-long project.”

The hope was that exposing the freshman engineering students to the different majors within the department would make it easier for them to choose a major.

Students were broken up into teams of eight and asked to design a car and a bridge using only materials supplied by the College of Engineering. A panel of engineers graded them on their project’s performance in four different categories.

First, the students’ cars were timed as they crossed an obstacle course, including their bridge. Next, the car was tested to see how much force it could exert. The bridge was then tested to see how much weight the middle could hold. Finally, the car and the bridge were judged on their aesthetic merits.

The winning team for each of these four events received an automatic A for the project. There was also an overall winner based on the finish of the team in each of the competitions.

“When I first saw the project, I was really scared,” A.J. Zampella of Team Ford said. “They assigned it the first day.”

However, as the year went on, the project became less intimidating.

“As we learned more, it became a less daunting task,” Dustin Getz, Zampella’s teammate on Team Ford said.

The winners for the four categories were Team Daewoo for the race, Team Dodge for the pull, Team Ford for the bridge and Team Bentley for aesthetics. The overall winner was Team Dodge, followed by Team Mercedes and Team Ford to round out the top three.

Students had been working on the project since the beginning of the semester. They had to first design the car, then build a battery using lemon juice, copper and magnesium. Students were also required to design the bridge to hold as much weight as possible, and had to determine the way to get the most power out of the car.

“It was pretty time-consuming, but it was fun,” said Jim Leverone of Team Land Rover. “We just saw our car actually work.”

Overall, the organizers of the competition were pleased with the results.

The competition was a joint venture of the freshman engineering professors with special help from Howard M. Fulmer, William Koffke, John Wolf and James O’Brien of mechanical engineering, Joseph Yost of civil and environmental engineering, Randy Weinstein of chemical engineering and Edward Char of electrical and computer engineering.

“It went really well for the first year,” said Weinstein, “Lots of cheers for the teams, lots of smiles and some tears when the bridges broke.”