Category Archives: Engineering

Grant funds energy needs, education at community center

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala (top left) and students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center test solar panels and a portable power station. (Photos by Erik Panarusky)

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala (top left) and students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center test solar panels and a portable power station. (Photos by Erik Panarusky)

The Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Community Center will soon have some help with its electrical needs thanks to the sun, students and faculty in the East Carolina University College of Engineering and Technology, and a Constellation E2 Energy to Educate grant.

CET students partnered with the center to study its needs, equipment, appliances and layout, then conducted an energy audit to calculate the total energy consumption and the rate of energy consumption on a daily and monthly basis, said Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala, assistant professor in the Department of Technology Systems.

“We had originally talked about putting solar panels on the roof,” Agarwala said, but based on the center’s needs, a more portable and adaptable system was chosen.

The $37,500 grant funded the purchase of 18 100-watt solar panels and nine portable power stations. Each power station can be charged from the solar panels and can provide power for anything from charging a cell phone to running a refrigerator.

Deborah Moody, director of LGCC, said the center’s campus includes six buildings, so the flexibility of the portable systems made perfect sense.

“We wanted it to be simple and never have an excuse not to use it,” she said.

The panels and power packs can be used during outdoor events, instead of running extension cords everywhere. They will also allow the center to function during power outages.

“Last year when we had the hurricane, we still had to come in because the community still has needs,” Moody said. “But we didn’t have any power in the building. So this would allow us to charge our laptops and go to work like we usually do.”

Agarwala shows students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center how the unit can power a computer.

Agarwala shows students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center how the unit can power a computer.

 

In addition to offsetting daily energy consumption needs, powering events and emergency use, there’s an educational component. The center has STEM-based after-school and summer programs, and the students will be able to learn about topics ranging from energy conservation to converting units of power.

Each power station has multiple AC and DC outlets, as well as a digital display showing energy input and usage. The panels and the power stations can be connected in different combinations depending on specific energy needs.

During a demonstration of the equipment, the students were able to see how much energy was being generated by the solar panels and the impact of shadows, as well as the amount of energy drawn by a charging cell phone.

“It’s exciting to watch the kids light up,” Moody said. “We want to get them excited and interested in these fields to prime them and train them, and then have them grow up and contribute to the community.

“We also want the youth to help us think of other ways to use these to help save energy. And then they’ll become advocates at home with their parents, and tell them, ‘These are things we can do to save energy in the house.’”

The LGCC opened in 2007 and is operated through a partnership between ECU, the City of Greenville and Pitt Community College. Constellation’s E2 Energy to Educate grants fund student projects focusing on energy science, technology and education.

The solar panels and power stations, funded by an E2 Energy to Educate grant from Constellation, will be used for events, emergency power and daily energy needs at the center.

The solar panels and power stations, funded by an E2 Energy to Educate grant from Constellation, will be used for events, emergency power and daily energy needs at the center.

 

By Jules Norwood

Dept. of Construction Management Gains Reaccreditation

The College’s Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited for another six years by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE). In order to receive reaccreditation, the department had to meet 20 student learning outcomes, which was a new process required by ACCE.

“Previously, the accreditation process was prescriptive-based,” said Dr. Syed Ahmed, department chair. “We, along with a few other universities, were the forerunners of the new outcomes-based approach, and it showed our students are learning what they need to succeed.”

Ahmed said receiving the new accreditation also reflects numerous, positive approaches the department is taking. “Our curriculum is current. Our faculty is qualified. We excel at self assessing. And, our facilities are up-to-date,” he added.

The College of Engineering and Technology's Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited. (Photo by Jay Clark)

The College of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited. (Photo by Jay Clark)

The reaccreditation has come at a good time. Ahmed sees the construction industry rebounding after a slump around 2006, which resulted in a drop in enrollment. Today, he sees an increase in enrollment across all universities due to growth in commercial and residential construction.

“The construction industry needs more students like our department is producing,” says Ahmed. “Our employment levels are excellent.”

In the spring of 2017, the department graduated 42 students. Of those students, 88 percent have landed a job. Dr. Ahmed is quick to point out that these students will also have a chance to make an exceptional salary upon graduation from college. Over the past 36 months, 62 percent of starting salaries for those with a bachelor’s degree in construction management have a range of $50,000 – $65,000 (and up). The national average is just over $54,000.

“Our students are serving a critical need for the construction industry,” added Ahmed.

As the construction industry grows, along with the demands for college to produce qualified talent, the need for additional faculty also grows.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Ahmed. “We just need to make sure we can match our high level of student enrollment with the increased need for faculty in the department.”

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

 

College of Engineering and Technology Graduates First Environmental Engineering Students

Last week’s College of Engineering and Technology graduation ceremonies saw a couple of momentous occasions. First, the College’s Department of Engineering graduated its 500th student! Secondly, three students were the first to graduate with a concentration in environmental engineering.

Matthew Edwards, Brian Garrett and Troy Puryear came to the program two years ago and then this past Friday, they became a part of college history.

However, the impetus for this program started when the College wanted to add another engineering concentration almost five years ago. The goal was to create opportunities that would complement the needs of eastern North Carolina.

Pictured, from left to right: Instructor Jeff Foeller, Troy Puryear, Matthew Edwards and Asst. Professor Randall Etheridge, Ph.D. Puryear and Edwards are two of the first three graduates to receive an engineering degree with a concentration in environmental engineering. (contributed photo)

Pictured, from left to right: Instructor Jeff Foeller, Troy Puryear, Matthew Edwards and Asst. Professor Randall Etheridge, Ph.D. Puryear and Edwards are two of the first three graduates to receive an engineering degree with a concentration in environmental engineering. (contributed photo)

“We sat down internally and asked what’s going to make a good environmental engineer for this area,” said Jeff Foeller, an Instructor with College and one of the architects of the original curriculum. “We have a lot of water and lot of coastline. Therefore, we knew the program should have a water concentration.”

So, the department mapped out the classes, got the curriculum approved and classes were then made available.

Puryear, who is from Greenville, says this concentration appealed to him because he, “wanted the opportunity to work hands-on, in the field; rather than always indoors or in an office.” Puryear is currently an intern at a local firm and has hopes to continue with that firm as a full-time employee.

Along with the intimacy of the program, Edwards chose the environmental concentration because, “my uncle is an environmental engineer, and I’m able to work both outside and inside.” Edwards has accepted a position with an engineering firm in Raleigh.

Though only three graduated in this first group, Foeller expects to double that number over the next year. The goal is to sustain a program that can handle one or two dozen students a year.

“As we’re growing in the East and developing more land, the need for environmental engineers will increase,” said Foeller.

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

Five ECU Students Receive Scholarships from TiMOTION

Thanks to a company that “believes strongly in moving toward a better future,” five engineering students from the College of Engineering and Technology are each the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.

Pictured, from left to right: Patricia Malcolm, Basel Abdelfattah and Laith Damreh. All three are biomedical engineering students who each received a scholarship from TiMOTION. (contributed photos)

Pictured, from left to right: Patricia Malcolm, Basel Abdelfattah and Laith Damreh. All three are biomedical engineering students who each received a scholarship from TiMOTION. (contributed photos)

In a recent news release, Taiwan’s TiMOTION and its North American Subsidiary awarded these scholarships, which will benefit full-time students of high academic standing who are enrolled in engineering programs. The company considers these awards an investment in the engineers of tomorrow.

Scholarship recipients include:

  • Basel Abdelfattah
  • Laith Damreh
  • Travis Harrison
  • Jamie LoScalzo
  • Patricia Malcolm

All five students are from North Carolina

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from TiMOTION.

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from TiMOTION.

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is from New Bern, and she’s currently president of the Dean’s Student Leadership Advisory Council for the College of Engineering and Technology. About the scholarship, she said, “this award helps to alleviate my financial concerns for next semester, and will allow me to focus on my coursework, as well as my extracurricular activities within the college.”

Laith Damreh, a junior from Raleigh, echoed LoScalzo. “This opportunity is very helpful because, with the scholarship, I can work less so I can focus more on my academics.”

Goldsboro’s Malcolm knew from an early age that paying for her education would fall squarely on her shoulders. “My parents told me from a very early age that they would not pay for my college education and that I would be responsible for it myself,” she said. “Getting this scholarship will allow me to continue pursuing my education goals.”

Abdelfattah is from Greenville. Like the other ECU scholarship recipients, this scholarship will have an impact. “It’s motivation for me to work diligently for academic success,” said Abdelfattah. “The scholarship will help lessen the impact of my tuition costs.”

As part of this funding, TiMOTION said it will provide “products for classroom learning and projects.”

TiMOTION is an industry-leading provider of electric linear actuators worldwide.

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

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