Engineers-in-the-making showcase creativity at spring 2018 Senior Design EXPO

A year’s worth of work in mechanical, electrical and computer engineering came to a head on May 4, 2018, at the Senior Design EXPO, as more than 20 student teams presented original creative projects before faculty mentors, proud family members, prospective employers and judges drawn from regional industries.

The EXPO is the culmination of the two-semester Senior Design curriculum, a capstone experience for engineering students at SUNY New Paltz that challenges them to showcase inventiveness, problem solving skills and the ability to iterate from brainstorm, to blueprint, to prototype, to final product.

“The process of translating ideas from paper into systems that perform a function useful to society has no comparison,” said Division of Engineering Programs Chair Julio Gonzalez. “Let us now enjoy your display of hard work and creativity!”

Students work together in teams where different members contribute different skills, which allows for ambitious undertakings and the practice of real-world strategies and execution.

“We do group work in classes, but in this case there’s so much more, and it’s a mix of our skills in mechanical, electrical and computer,” said Stephanie Fernandez ’18 (Mechanical Engineering), who was part of a team of five students (three computer engineers, two mechanical) who developed an automated doggie door tailored for the Internet of Things-era.

“I don’t know exactly how the app works, but I was able to design a new motor housing and drill it to the door to make it stable,” she added. “It feels like how the real engineering field works – you’re not always going to know the specifics of another person’s part of the project, but you have to communicate to make sure their part connects with yours.”

The students are evaluated by judges who evaluate their work with an eye toward originality, functionality and real-world value, simulating the experience of an industry or research conference.

This semester’s panel of judges was made up of engineering alumni and regional experts, many representing companies whose sponsorship (and employment opportunities) have helped make the EXPO one of the premier engineering events in the Hudson Valley.

“This region has depended on engineering as a core part of the economy for over 100 years, but a missing piece has been a comprehensive regional program large enough to support a range of businesses,” said Dan Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering. “Our addition of a mechanical engineering program, combined with the expansion of our strong electrical and computer engineering programs, has gone a long way toward making SUNY New Paltz the institution that fills that gap and helps drive the future economy in the Hudson Valley.”

The judges awarded three prizes and two honorable mentions to this year’s designers:

  • First Place: “Biometric Pill Dispenser,” by James Cox (Computer Engineering), Nathan James (Mechanical Engineering), Stephen Laguerra (Computer Engineering) and Christopher Vu (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Second Place: “Automatic Whiteboard Eraser,” by Paul Christian (Electrical Engineering), Vaughan Clewis (Mechanical Engineering), James Coen (Electrical Engineering) and Joseph Palombo (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Third Place: “Assistive Cutting for Investment Casting,” by Justin Buyes (Mechanical Engineering), Garrett Noach (Mechanical Engineering), Rushi Patel (Mechanical Engineering) and Scott To (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Honorable Mention: “Who Let the Dog Out?” by Lunmar Alcantara (Computer Engineering), Samuel Darkwah Boahen (Computer Engineering), Bryan Darcy (Computer Engineering), Stephanie Fernandez (Mechanical Engineering) and Daniel Pineda (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Honorable Mention: “Sustainable Biking: Change to the Finish Line,” by Christopher Amato (Electrical Engineering), Megan Gangewere (Mechanical Engineering) and Chad Plante (Electrical Engineering)

The Division of Engineering Programs thanks the following sponsors for their support of the spring 2018 Engineering Design EXPO: MPI Systems, NanoNoggin® Fast Thinker Consulting, ELNA Magnetics, JBT Corporation®, Spectra Vista Corporation, Central Hudson® and GLOBALFOUNDRIES®.

To learn more about the Division of Engineering Programs at SUNY New Paltz, please visit us online.