The College of Engineering held its annual Celebration of Engineering Design this week, a showcase of innovation, creativity, and grit that essentially demonstrates how its senior class has earned the right to be called “engineer.”
With an astonishing range of projects—from motorized wheelchairs to modular oceanic search and rescue drones to a home vacuum brewer, and everything in between—the contest this year captured a total of 692 seniors and their culminating work here at the college and at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems (BME).
The contest winner this year was the BMES team advised by CoE’s Dr. Michele Marcolongo, department head and professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, for the project “Simulator Model for Training Cesarean Section in Kampala, Uganda.” Team members include Rachel Junod, Michelle Krach, Lyndsey Sbarro, and Victoria Utria. They won $2,500 for their project that seeks to increase access to successful cesarean section procedures and decrease national maternal mortality and morbidity rates through their training device.
The top CoE team, which was awarded second place, was “Automated ADA Curb Inspection,” advised by Dr. Antonios Kontsos, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. Team members include Matthew Mohnack, Zachary Seither, Arfan Shayer, and Justin Terek. They were awarded $1,500 for their project that seeks to ensure the nation’s sidewalk ramps—many of them degrading and not up to standard—comply with the strict standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The third-place team was “Ad Hoc Communication Network for Emergency Response,” advised by Dr. Christopher Peters, teaching professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Team members include Mercedes Chartier, Joseph Fasbinder, Gabrielle Madden, and Amy Shapiro. They were awarded $1,000 for their project that seeks to develop a low-cost, wireless ad hoc communications network for first responders that is reliable in emergency situations underground, in high rises, and in environments constructed with a significant amount of metal.
The winning teams were selected after seven six-minute presentations delivered in front of a full audience at Mitchell Auditorium at the Bossone Research Center. In turn, these seven teams had been whittled down over the past few weeks from 152 teams at the College of Engineering and 25 teams at BMES, for a total of 177 engineering projects for the 2018-2019 school year.
The senior design event was sponsored by generous grants from the Dimitri J. Ververelli, Inc. firm of Philadelphia, and ZAP Engineering & Construction Services, Inc. of Lakewood, CO, as well as over 20 individual contributors.
“These are motivated engineers who appreciate the challenges presented to them,” said James E. Mitchell, associate dean for Undergraduate Affairs and CoE Senior Design chair. “They have been required to develop solutions to problems they have chosen and defined, and are judged not only on their final solution, but on the process they used to get there.”
Speaking for his team, Seither, MEM ’19, said it was rewarding to see how the competition projects aimed to improve people’s lives with innovation, and that Kontsos helped “shaped us into professional engineers.”
“We really liked the freedom to create whatever we set our minds to. Senior design allowed everyone to display what they learned here at Drexel, and to show what caliber of engineer they truly are,” said Seither. “For the first time, it was not a battle of the GPAs or who has the best resume, but instead, a battle of skills. It was also a great learning experience. Having a stakeholder gave us a real-world feel of how life would be in the world of entrepreneurship.
“I don't believe people will ever understand how many hours the team put into this project. There was a great deal of sacrifice made throughout the year, but we wouldn't have had it any other way,” he added. “I am very proud of the guys for their hard work and dedication. It was incredible to see what we were truly capable of when we all worked together as a team. It’s been an honor.”
In addition to the senior design projects, awards were given out to two of the exhibiting first-year teams from the freshman class.
In first place for $300 was Team 63, “Project Excadrill Multi-arm Digging Robot,” with members Anson Charles, Danielle Godwin, Matt Friend, Kris Lagreca, and Om Umare.
In second place for $150 was Team 78, “Coffee Extraction Processes Using Ecologically Friendly Filters,” with members Srinidi Badhrinathan, Anna Kloiber, Sharvi Multra, and Bhoumin Puwar.
“I hope you share my pride for these students and for the entire graduating class,” Mitchell added, speaking to the audience at the end of the competition. “We wish them well as they now move on to solve the world’s problems.”