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 .

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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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ECU undergraduate published in Science magazine

ECU undergraduate Joseph West Paul III co-authored a paper on ALS that appeared in September 2014 edition of Science magazine.

Joseph Paul

Joseph Paul

“Clogging information flow in ALS: Dipeptide repeat proteins produced in certain neurodegenerative diseases exert toxicity by blocking RNA biogenesis,“ was co-authored with Aaron D. Gitler of the Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine.

A student of ECU professor Dr. Yiping Qi, Paul completed the article about the possible mechanism of ALS disease during a summer internship at Stanford University. As part of the internship he helped his internship advisor review two original manuscripts on the topic, which resulted in the published article.

Paul is an ECU Honors College student and EC Scholar. He is majoring in biochemistry.

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Annual Beach Fest set for Sept. 17

Beach Fest in 2013 combined water and inflatables for fun activities for the approximately 1,500 who attended. This year's Beach Fest is set for Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Student Affairs Marketing and Communication)

Beach Fest in 2013 combined sun, water and inflatable recreation for the approximately 1,500 who attended. This year’s Beach Fest is set for Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Student Affairs Marketing and Communication)

East Carolina University will host the fourth annual Beach Fest from 4:30 – 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at the North Recreational Complex.

The popular attraction drew more than 1,500 students last year. Activities include a 300-foot zip line, DJ Karaoke, kayaking, stand up paddleboards, disc golf, corn hole, horseshoes, beach volleyball, bocce, club sports demonstrations and inflatables. Participants may enjoy free food and take-home giveaways such as souvenir Beach Fest tank tops, beach towels, cell phone wallets, sunscreen and Frisbees.

“ECU’s Beach Fest is a great opportunity for students to learn about the activities, sports and amazing facilities available to them at the North Recreational Complex,” said Janis Steele, associate director of facilities with Campus Recreation and Wellness.

Beach Fest is part of ECU’s Plunge into Purple, a series of events and programs in the first six weeks of the semester aimed at welcoming students to the university through education, socialization and involvement. This event is presented by Campus Recreation and Wellness in collaboration with the Student Activities Board and the Office of Student Transitions.

All ECU students, faculty and staff are welcomed. A valid ECU One Card is required for admittance. ECU Transit will provide bus service to and from the complex.

Media are welcome to attend and cover Beach Fest. Please check in at the front gate at the event for additional information. For more information about the North Recreational Complex, visit www.ecu.edu/crw or call (252) 328-1571.

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College of Education awards scholarships to 73 students

College of Education Dean Dr. Linda Patriarca, left, congratulations scholarship winner Vasti Rodriguez at an Aug. 22 event. (Contributed photo)

College of Education Dean Dr. Linda Patriarca, left, congratulates scholarship winner Vasti Rodriguez at an Aug. 22 event. (Contributed photo)

Seventy-three East Carolina University students, including nine from the Greenville area, have been awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships by the College of Education.

The scholarships, ranging from $250 to $7,000 each, were given to outstanding education students for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Private donations fund the scholarships that were created to honor and memorialize outstanding educators and the profession in support of the academic pursuits of future teachers.

The scholarship recipients were recognized at a ceremony Aug. 22 at Rock Springs Center, including the following local students: Meredith Rose Clark of Greenville, Angel Boberg-Webb Memorial Scholarship and the Pat and Lynn Lane Scholarship; Arthur P. Nava of Winterville, Burney & Judy Warren Scholarship and the Tony R. Banks Scholarship in Special Education; Dawn Hester of Greenville, Carol Smith Gardner Education Leadership Fellowship; Brett T. Congleton of Winterville, Craig W. and Ruth T. Joyner Family Scholarship; Philip David Ellis of Winterville, David and BJ Fisher Scholarship; Chena Cayton of Grimesland, Dianne and Chip Linville Doctoral Fellowship Endowment Fund and the Mack and Margaret Coble Doctoral Fellowship; Vasti Rodriguez of Greenville, Dr. Suzanne Wester, M.D. Scholarship; Summer Nicole Briley of Stokes, James H. and Connie M. Maynard Scholarship; and Scott P. Haddock of Greenville, Marjorie Harrison Pi Omega Pi Freshman Award.

The mission of the College of Education is the preparation of professional educators and allied practitioners, including professionals in business information systems, counseling, electronic media and librarianship. For more information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/.

 

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