Senior Design Expo showcases projects by engineering students

senior design expo 2018 sample project

Over 115 projects were on display during the annual School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Senior Design Expo. Photo credit: The Onion Studio.

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published August 21, 2018

An umbrella fitted with solar cells and charging ports that provides electrical power, shade and shelter from inclement weather.

“The Senior Design Expo was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the culmination of all that I learned over the past four years. Not only was I excited to share my project but it was also great to see what the other students in my class had worked on. Plus, it gave me a valuable understanding of schedule and documentation in design that I now use every day at work."
Maggie Donnelly, electrical engineering alumni
Moog, Inc.

An economical autonomous lawn mower that could replace costly lawn maintenance services for companies and homeowners. A system that uses 3D printing of patient-specific cardiovascular phantoms to enable researchers to validate complex coronary heart disease diagnostic software without the need to conduct large-scale clinical trials.

These are just three examples of projects that were on display at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Senior Design Expo. Now in its fourth year, the Expo featured over 115 projects by senior-level students throughout the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“It is great to see projects from all different disciplines across the engineering spectrum on display,” said Andrew Olewnik, director of experiential learning in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Every year our students come up with some very interesting and cool projects. Seeing what they can achieve by putting their coursework into practice, building prototypes, and discussing the design details with a wide variety of audiences is very exciting,” he continued.

The Expo showcased a mix of industry-sponsored and student-defined aerospace, biomedical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial and mechanical engineering projects. Faculty advisors included: Ciprian Ionita, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Christine Human, Darrell Kaminski and Andrew Whittaker, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; Jun (Brandon) Choi, Zhi Sun and Jennifer Zirnheld, Department of Electrical Engineering; Harrison Kelly, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; and John Hall, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“The Senior Design Expo was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the culmination of all that I learned over the past four years. Not only was I excited to share my project but it was also great to see what the other students in my class had worked on. Plus, it gave me a valuable understanding of schedule and documentation in design that I now use every day at work,” said Maggie Donnelly, who graduated in May with a BS in electrical engineering and now works at Moog, Inc.

This year’s Expo included a new passport program aimed at increasing attendance and engagement by the current SEAS student community at the event. Students who visited at least three projects from three different engineering disciplines were entered into a raffle to receive prizes that included a Star Wars baking kit, an engineering book pack with books about Elon Musk and Nikola Tesla, a camera quadcopter, and a Kan-Jam lawn game.

“By introducing the passport program, we hoped to show underclassmen the types of projects that they could work on in their senior year, and for our graduate students to use their technical proficiency to ask design teams meaningful and probing questions about their projects,” said Chelsea Montrois, student affairs assistant at SEAS.

Middle and high school students from Tapestry Charter School also attended the event. The students and their chaperones had the opportunity to talk with SEAS students and see their design projects, as well as tour the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory and Digital Manufacturing Laboratory.

“Part of the professional benefit of participating in the Senior Design Expo is gaining experience communicating technical information to a wide audience inclusive of faculty, industry professionals, peers, graduate students, and those with minimal technical literacy, such as middle and high school students,” added Montrois.

The Senior Design Expo was partially sponsored by the Engineering Partnership Program, which provides companies with exposure to the school’s 7,000+ students, its 36,000+ alumni, as well as numerous prospective students, faculty and parents. The program strengthens the school’s relationships with local and national companies, both for their benefit and the benefit of our students and their future employment.

This year’s gold-level partners are Ascent Aerospace (formerly Gemcor), ATTO Technology, Lockheed Martin, Moog, National Grid, Northrop Grumman, Praxair, U&S Services, Unifrax, ValueCentric and Zodiac Aerospace. Silver-level partners are Apple Rubber, Astronics, LaFarge and Niagara Specialty Metals.

The event was held on Friday, May 11, 2018 in Davis Hall on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

Photos by The Onion Studio.