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Tech Expo Capstones Prelude to Caps & Gowns

Date: May 13, 2002
By: Eric Lose
Contact: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Lisa Ventre and Colleen Kelley
Archive: General News

It pays to be different, and now you can come see whom it pays, and why they're getting the money.

The College of Applied Science will hold its annual Technology Exposition (Tech Expo) from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Exhibits are open to the general public and will be located in and around the Administration Building at 2220 Victory Parkway. Left to Right: Nathan Wright, Karen Rangi and Jason Heuker were on the BattleBot project.

At a time when many schools are concerned about low job placement rates for June graduates, more than 98 percent of UC's Applied Science students find work within three weeks of graduation.

Local and national employers favor Applied Science graduates because of the college's combination of intense coursework, hands-on practical training and wide-ranging cooperative education assignments. According to Dean Richard Newrock, "Our students generally have multiple offers by the time they are ready to graduate."

All graduating students in all departments are required to design a senior project, and the majority of them display their work at the annual Technology Exposition. According to Melinda Stout, assistant to the dean at Applied Science and coordinator of the event, "The expo is the seniors' capstone experience. It is the culmination of everything they have prepared for and learned."

The wide range of projects to be displayed at this year's expo exemplifies the innovative nature and creativity of CAS students. A few examples of the more than 100 senior projects from the various departments are:

  • Mechanical engineering technology -- An automated dumbbell rack for paraplegics and a wheelchair that converts into an exam table.

  • Chemical technology -- A new fragrance and the assessment of a novel fertilizer delivery system.

  • Architectural engineering technology -- Designs of many facilities including a rail transit system depot, a community center and a raceway.

  • Construction management -- Robotic surveying and the use of fiber-optics for monitoring strain in concrete buildings.

  • Electrical and computer engineering technology -- low impact muscle stimulator, an auto fuel consumption monitor and a light organ.

  • Information engineering technology -- Database and web page design and management.

    At Applied Science, education is more than just textbooks and calculators: Students are involved in all aspects of their discipline. For example, students in the mechanical engineering technology program (MET) learn everything from hands-on machining and welding to designing and product development. According to Muthar Al-Ubaidi, interim department head of MET, the projects are an important tool to prepare students for real-world employment. Bill Colgan

    "They have to propose the project, design, manufacture and test the unit. They are also responsible for time and budget management," said Al-Ubaidi. "If they tell me in the beginning the project will cost $200, and their final budget is $2000... that is a definite no-no. Their grade will suffer."

    Applied Science students put a lot of time into their senior projects. Some are done individually, but many are team efforts. Tuan Nguyen designed and built a hamstring flexor. More than just an exercise machine, Nguyen's project is a tool to be used in rehab. "It helped me learn in several areas, like to understand how to define and solve problems and to understand more about human bio-mechanics." Tuan Nguyen assists Kevin Do on the hamstring flexor

    Karen Rangi is part of a four-person team that built a Battlebot, a machine designed for robotic fighting competitions. Most robots are designed to do one task, but a Battlebot is multi-functional -- building one gives students' valuable training at working as a team, an experience that employers find very desirable. Rangi and her teammates began working on the Battlebot last summer. Each team member was lead designer for a subsystem, and they worked as a team to integrate all subsystems together to produce the final product. Rangi said, "I worked on project management and chassis, Nathan Wright developed the offense, Jason Heuker's subsection was locomotion, and Rob Garret worked on the defense." The team members worked a lot of 10- and 15-hour days on the development, manufacture and testing of the Battlebot, named Project Muthar after the MET head. In November, the team plans to enter their project in the elimination rounds for season six of the Battlebot television show.

    The Tech Expo is free and open to the general public.


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