Category Archives: Engineering

Computer Sciences and Business Students Participate in Hackathon

Between 9 p.m. Feb. 23 and 8 a.m. Feb. 24, 16 students from the College of Engineering and Technology (CET), the College of Business (COB) and other University colleges came together to help launch a company.

The College of Business’ Student Technology Center hosted a hackathon where these students created a website, or what they call a web store, for gamers, musicians, writers, artists, etc., to sell their content.

Computer Sciences Senior Patrick Luy, left, works with Samuel Carraway, computer sciences, junior, on a business model canvas during the hackathon. (photos by Michael Rudd)

Computer Sciences Senior Patrick Luy, left, works with Samuel Carraway, computer sciences, junior, on a business model canvas during the hackathon.
(Photos by Michael Rudd)

“I was working on a project in my spare time,” said Samuel Carraway, a CET junior from Chapel Hill. “I wanted to make it a reality.”

Carraway said he participated in two hackathons off campus and that’s where the idea germinated to have a hackathon at the University. He presented the idea to the recently formed student organization, EPIC or Empowering Pioneers through Innovative Culture, which includes students from all over the University who have an entrepreneurial spirit.

To help cultivate that spirit, COB’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship and instructor David Mayo oversaw that hackathon’s proceedings. Though these types of events are usually software intensive, Mayo believes it’s important to have a business component, as well.

“This hackathon not only produced a product, but we also came out with a business model that makes that product useful for the owner and the customer,” said Mayo.  “Entrepreneurship acts as a bridge for that innovation.”

We liked this collaborative atmosphere and having people from different majors and backgrounds come together,” said CET senior and EPIC co-president, Magus Pereira. “The hackathon was a good experience.”

The Feb. 23 & 24 hackathon included students from both the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business.

The Feb. 23 & 24 hackathon included students from both the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business.

Along with the new web store, a business plan was also finalized to help the store go to market. Teams of engineering and business students focused on three areas: the building of the website, a Kickstarter campaign, and a business model canvas. Business senior Christopher Rudkowski joined the hackathon and was anxious to take what he’s learned and put it to practical use. He said, “I’ve never been so immersed in a situation where we can get together and make something work.”

Business senior Dakota Votaw had never participated in a hackathon, but he’s glad he joined in this one. “It was a very positive experience for everyone,” he said. “I don’t think anyone left there thinking it was a wasted night.”

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, College of Engineering & Technology

Students and Employers Benefit from 2017 Career Networking Day

Adorned in business attire and armed with updated resumes and talking points, more than 400 students from the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business jammed the University’s Murphy Center Thursday, Feb. 9. to network with potential employees and possible references.

The Feb. 9 Career Networking Day broke attendance records, with more than 400 students attending and 55 companies exhibiting at the event. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The Feb. 9 Career Networking Day broke attendance records, with more than 400 students attending and 55 companies exhibiting at the event. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The College of Engineering and Technology’s eighth Annual Career Networking Day brought these students together with approximately 150 representatives from 55 statewide companies. Representatives greeted students with company information and business cards. Sidebar conversations, networking tips, and new relationships were the order of things once the event started at 1 p.m.

“The goal of this event, which was the most attended one to date, was not about finding jobs. It was more of a networking event so students can learn how to communicate and sell themselves to potential employers,” said Dr. Leslie Pagliari, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Technology. “We wanted to make sure they were prepared for next month’s spring Career Fair.”

Senior Magus Pereira networks with Vidant Health’s Tammy Wilkins during the 2017 Annual Career Networking Day, sponsored by the College of Engineering and Technology. (contributes photo)

Junior Sarika Merchant speaks to one of the 150 company representatives that exhibited at the Eighth Annual Career Networking Day.

And prepared they were.

Sarika Merchant, a junior with the College of Engineering and Technology, made sure her resume was up-to-date and reviewed talking scripts before the event. She also took it upon herself to learn a little about the companies who were in attendance. The benefit from doing this one step, she believes, is strong.

“If you go up to them and say I know about your company and this is what you do, it shows that you have done the research and that you are actually interested,” said Merchant.

To those students who did not attend the annual Career Networking Day, Senior Magus Pereira says they are missing out, “on making the network connections with recruiters. Even if they don’t get the opportunity, they could have gotten their names across to the recruiters and what they’re working on.”

Senior Magus Pereira networks with Vidant Health’s Tammy Wilkins during the 2017 Annual Career Networking Day, sponsored by the College of Engineering and Technology.

Senior Magus Pereira networks with Vidant Health’s Tammy Wilkins during the 2017 Annual Career Networking Day, sponsored by the College of Engineering and Technology. 

 

It’s Good for the Employers, Too

Students were not the only ones who benefited from this networking event. Employers got a chance to learn more about what graduates from both colleges can potentially bring to their organizations.

“These events are ideal because, as an alumni, I get to give back to the students and the faculty,” said Mark Bray, supply chain director with ACR Supply Company. “As an employer, we have the opportunity to hire interns…and sometimes we get to hire them after the internship. It’s (the event) been a great resource for the company.”

This event was the first one that Tammy Wilkins of Vidant Health had attended. She was excited to be there because she knew the event would give Vidant Heath an opportunity to, “network and build relationships with students and help them learn about the initiatives and services that Vidant provides.”

Organizers and exhibitors at the event said they were not only encouraged by the quality of senior and junior level students that participated, but they were also excited to see sophomores attend and understand the importance of networking events such as this one.

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, College of Engineering & Technology

ECU’S CENTER OF SUSTAINABILITY TO HOLD FIRST SUSTAINABILITY SYMPOSIUM

The University’s College of Engineering and Technology and the College’s Center for Sustainability will hold its first Sustainability Symposium Feb. 20, 2017. The event’s goal is to discuss ways sustainability can be integrated into research and industry practices,

Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam, event organizer and associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering and Technology. (Contributed photo)

Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam, event organizer and associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering and Technology. (contributed photo)

especially those that will benefit eastern North Carolina. It will also promote approaches that adopt and implement inclusive views of the key dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.

The symposium will be held at the University’s Murphy Center from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“We want to present thought-provoking examples of sustainability ideas, analyses and practices that are available to our region’s farmers and agricultural organizations so they can maintain and grow their businesses and be good stewards of the environment, as

well,” said Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam, event organizer and associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering and Technology.

Pam Swingle of the Environmental Protection Agency will be the keynote speaker. She is the agency’s pollution prevention program manager for the Region 4 Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability. She is responsible

Pam Swingle, Environmental Protection Agency’s pollution prevention program manager for the Region 4 Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability. (contributed photo)

Pam Swingle, Environmental Protection Agency’s pollution prevention program manager for the Region 4 Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability. (contributed photo)

for administering pollution prevention and sustainability programs and providing technical assistance within Region 4’s eight, southeastern states.

Symposium discussions will include:

  1. We know how to do this: Sustainability and Energy: Ged Moody, Appalachian State University, special assistant to the Chancellor for Sustainability
  2. What does food have to do with sustainability?: Rebecca Dunning, North Carolina State University, Department of Horticultural Science
  3. Strategies to protect water resources in agricultural watersheds: Mike Burchell, North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  4. The vulnerable food, energy, and water system in the Caribbean: Scott Curtis, East Carolina University, Geography
  5. Soil Conservation and Organic Farming: Kristi Hocutt, sales manager, Triple J Produce
  6. Organic Feasibility: Thomas Moore, food systems coordinator, Carolina Farm Stewards

The symposium will also include a student/faculty poster session, which will cover all areas of sustainability-related research including tourism, water, energy, agriculture and buildings.

This event is supported by the Pitt County Development Commission, College of Engineering and Technology, the Center for Innovation in Technology and Engineering Outreach (CITE), and Phi Kappa Phi.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

The registration fee is $35 per person.

To register for the event visit: https://www.enrole.com/ecu/jsp/session.jsp?sessionId=17SUST0220&courseId=17SUST0220&categoryId=ROOT or call (252) 328-9198

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, College of Engineering & Technology

ECU team competes in national robotics competition

East Carolina University’s Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering robotics team took third place at the national ATMAE Conference held Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, Florida.

Led by Zack Cleghorn, an industrial engineering technology student, the team worked from August until October on the ECU robot. Other team members were David Palmieri, Oliver Chen, Cameron Coleman, Chance Smitherman, Luke Pearson, Kyle Marchand, Samuel Saunders and Josh Stevens.

Front row (left to right): David Palmieri, Oliver Chen, Cameron Coleman, Chance Smitherman, Zack Cleghorn. Back row : Luke Pearson, Kyle Marchland, Samuel Saunders, Josh Stevens. (Contributed photo)

Front row (left to right): David Palmieri, Oliver Chen, Cameron Coleman, Chance Smitherman, Zack Cleghorn. Back row: Luke Pearson, Kyle Marchand, Samuel Saunders, Josh Stevens. (Contributed photo)

Faculty members Amy Frank, teaching instructor in technology systems, and Dr. Jimmy Linn, teaching assistant professor, accompanied the team made up of industrial engineering technology, computer science and technology management graduate students. It was the first time many of the students had worked on a project requiring extensive wiring, programming and design decisions.

Team members from a competing team examine the ECU robot on display.

Team members from a competing team examine the ECU robot on display.

The robot had to complete two major circuits at the competition. The first consisted of a burlap bridge, a teeter totter and an automation segment where the robot had to collect five cubes and store them. The second circuit was a relay race in which the robot had to sprint down and collect irregular shaped blocks and return to the starting point. During the competition, the robot experienced a few minor automation failures over the burlap bridge, but was able to complete the teeter totter successfully for both passes.

One of the best features of the robot was its secondary inner wheels, which were 3D printed by Stevens. The wheels were adapted using riveted spokes to help pull the robot over the burlap bridge. With several infra-red sensors, an ultrasonic sensor and an Xbox controller, the robot sprang to life for the automation segment.

A close-up of the finished ECU robot. Several parts were made using a 3D printer.

A close-up of the finished ECU robot. Several parts were made using a 3D printer.

With an aluminum frame, the robot only weighed 25 pounds.

For more information on ATMAE and the robotics team, contact Frank (franka@ecu.edu) or Linn (linnj@ecu.edu) in the Department of Technology Systems.
-by Chance Smitherman, ECU robotics team member

Girl Scouts learn about careers in construction during ECU visit

Girl Scout troops from Farmville and Greenville came to East Carolina University on Saturday, Nov. 5 for a tour and informational event called, “Construction is Not Just for Boys.”

Gina Shoemaker, ECU’s assistant director for engineering and architectural services, and leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, coordinated the event at the construction site for the university’s new student center on 10th Street.

The Girl Scouts receive instructions before going out to the construction site. (Contributed photo)

The Girl Scouts receive instructions before going out to the construction site. (Contributed photos)

“I know so many great women in the construction field, and I wanted the Scouts to know that girls really can do anything they set their minds to. I wanted to correct the mindset that construction is something boys grow up to do,” said Shoemaker.

Fifty girls got a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment and process from women and men leading the construction of the student center, a $122 million project set to open in 2018. The site has two large cranes and other heavy equipment, which Shoemaker said makes it impressive from a “Tonka toy” perspective. The participants also met women who work in bridge design, civil engineering, architecture, finance and interior design.

In addition to the tour, the scout troops received Build and Grow kits from Lowe’s, hard hats from Rodgers Builders and T-shirts from TA Loving.

“The girls seemed to have a great time and the parent feedback has been amazing,” said Shoemaker. “If just one girl remembers us telling them to not listen when people tell her, ‘girls can’t do that,’ and she proves them wrong – this event was worth every minute of planning.”

The scouts and their leaders pose for a photo after their day of fun.

The scouts and their leaders pose for a photo after their day of fun.

–Jamie Smith

Two programs in the ECU College of Engineering and Technology accredited

East Carolina University’s bachelor of science in engineering and the master of science in occupational safety programs were recently awarded accreditation by ABET.

Both programs reside in the College of Engineering and Technology at ECU.

The Department of Engineering started in 2004 and now boasts 620 students. The program offers a bachelor’s degree in engineering with concentrations in biomedical, bioprocess, electrical, environmental, industrial and systems and mechanical engineering. The engineering program prepares graduates to work in various industries such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and service industries.

The occupational safety program has produced a steady stream of graduates since its inception in 1994. This is the first accreditation from ABET for the program.

ABET is the accrediting body of college and university programs in the areas of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET accredits programs at the associate, bachelor, and master degree levels. The accreditation assures that these programs meet the quality standards that produce graduates who are prepared to enter a global workforce. ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

ECU professors receive national recognition

Two engineering professors at East Carolina University have received national recognition for their work in the areas of diversity and management.

Dr. Evelyn Brown

Dr. Evelyn Brown

Dr. Evelyn Brown has received the “INSIGHT into Diversity” 2015 Inspiring Women in STEM award while Dr. Gene Dixon won the Bernard R. Sarchet Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Brown is one of 100 women recognized by the higher education magazine for achievements that encourage and inspire women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM. The magazine will be published in September.

Brown is a charter member of the STEM Girls steering committee, a member of the FIRST Robotics board of directors and faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Engineering Honor Society and Engineering Ambassadors. Brown was the primary investigator on a National Science Foundation grant that secured $540,000 in merit and need-based scholarships for the engineering department. She has spent numerous hours recruiting for the engineering department.

LaKesha Alston Forbes, associate provost of equity and diversity at ECU, nominated Brown for the award with input from Dr. David White, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.

“Dr. Brown was one of our first hires in engineering and serves as a tremendous role model for our female engineering students and junior faculty,” White said. “She is a great advocate for diversity, particularly in STEM, and she is a tireless supporter of her passionate work for diversity in the STEM fields.”

Brown said she is honored to have been nominated by ECU for the award. “I’m also hopeful that this national recognition will bring attention to ECU and the many good things being accomplished by dedicated faculty in our department, college and university,” she said.

Dr. Gene Dixon

Dr. Gene Dixon

Dixon received a national award named after Bernard R. Sarchet, a founding member and first national president of the American Society for Engineering Management.

The prestigious award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the profession and to the engineering management division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Dixon, who has been at ECU for nine years, oversees all capstone projects required for engineering majors in their senior year. Students work in teams to complete a yearlong project for a local business or industry.

Dixon works closely with industry partners to ensure that ECU students get work experience, leadership and entrepreneurial skills before they graduate. He also helps develop internship and cooperative work opportunities for engineering majors and has written multiple articles and presented at national and international conferences.

“Gene has applied his knowledge of engineering management in his scholarship and his teaching, and we are very fortunate to have him as a colleague,” said Dr. Hayden Griffin, chair of the engineering department at ECU.

 

Engineering students’ flying vehicle takes second in national competition

From left to right, Dr. Zhen Zhu and ECU engineering students Logan Cole, Alan Register and Tyree Parker. (Contributed photo)

From left to right, Dr. Zhen Zhu and ECU engineering students Logan Cole, Alan Register and Tyree Parker. (Contributed photo)

 

By Margaret Turner
ECU College of Engineering and Technology

Three East Carolina University undergraduate engineering students built a flying vehicle this summer that took second place in a unique national competition.

The students, led by ECU Assistant Professor of Engineering Zhen Zhu, competed against six other universities at the Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Competition at the 2014 Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Conference in Dayton, Ohio. The competition, the first of its kind, was part of the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate.

Students Logan Cole, Tyree Parker and Alan Register are members of ECU’s student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  Zhu, faculty advisor for the organization, said the student team used very low cost materials to build the aircraft. Most competitors had larger budgets and were able to use higher end materials and sensors.

Cole and Register attended the competition with Zhu.

The students’ vehicle was required to use autonomous navigation and target geo-location in a GPS-denied environment. The vehicle had to fly autonomously and find an object and record its coordinates.  “It was a difficult task for a relatively young group of students. Many of the teams consisted of graduate level students and ours are all undergraduates,” Zhu said.

The competition was divided into three parts: demonstration, a written report and an oral presentation. The team took first place in the flying portion. “The design and concept was done by the students,” Zhu said. “I was most impressed with how well we did using the lower cost materials and open source software.”

Register, a sophomore biomedical engineering student, got involved at Zhu’s request after working on another unmanned aerial vehicle competition earlier in the year.  “In this competition, we experienced real world situations like signal interferences that can’t be simulated in a lab,” Register said. “As an engineer, we want to experience real world problems and not just produce an ideal solution.”

Cole, a senior, learned how to read and write C code, a frequently used programming language. “I want to work with microcontrollers after college so this is a great way to get some firsthand experience,” he said.

The College of Engineering and Technology has more than 20 active student organizations, which provide opportunities for competitions, learning outside of the classroom and networking. For more information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-tecs/student_organizations.cfm .

Engineering Student Receives Scholarship

Anderson

       Anderson

Byron Anderson, a senior engineering student, has been awarded the Ronald C. Harrell Engineering Scholarship from the North Carolina Society of Engineers. Anderson, who is completing a double concentration in mechanical and industrial engineering, is from Wilson.

Each year, the NCSE awards a $2,000 scholarship to a student enrolled in engineering or engineering technology at one of five universities in North Carolina. A student must show financial need, good citizenship and strong academic merit. The scholarship honors Harrell, who was an outstanding NCSE member, former president and district director of the society.

Anderson decided to attend ECU because it was close to home and the engineering program was “rapidly growing,” he said. “My experience at ECU has been good,” Anderson said. “It was not only accumulated in the classroom. Faculty members help students grow as a person. I am not the person that I once was and I owe a lot of that to the engineering department.”

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