New Format Meets Old Tradition During 53rd Annual Engineering Convocation

New Format Meets Old Tradition During 53rd Annual Engineering Convocation

Professor Michael Prairie, David Crawford School of Engineering

The David Crawford School of Engineering (DCSE) held its 2015 Engineering Convocation on Thursday, April 23. As usual, this “coming together” of the engineering community that surrounds the program included guests from the Board of Fellows and several alumni who traveled back to campus to participate in the festivities. Guests included our keynote speaker Colonel Joe Capobianco ’88 (electrical engineering), who is currently the Program Executive Officer for Special Operations Forces-Warrior.

Col. Capobianco spoke to gathered students, faculty and friends about how the engineering problem-solving skills he learned at Norwich applies to any other type of problem we may face. He reminded students that they are in charge of their jobs and lives through the decisions they make and that along the way our best problem-solving resources are people, good communication, and time.

What wasn’t “usual” about the convocation was the new format. This was the second year that the gathering was run like a technical symposium featuring the engineering work of senior projects across all three disciplines (civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering). Class time that day was replaced by time spent at the convocation events.

The convocation in Doyle HallDCSE Director Prof. Steve Fitzhugh kicked off the meeting in Dole Auditorium. Project teams then gave TED Talk-style, four-minute oral abstract presentations.

After hearing overviews of all 16 projects, the crowd shifted to Doyle Hall for poster presentations and intimate Q&A sessions with students as they showed off artifacts of their year-long design efforts. As a recently built gathering space between Kreitzberg Arena and Andrews Gym, Doyle Hall was an ideal space for presentations, lending the session the professional feel that it deserved.

convocation 5Senior projects were also accompanied by two poster presentations from engineering juniors and a sophomore. The projects represented initiatives by teams of students in the School of Engineering who are applying their engineering skill-sets outside of the classroom in entrepreneurial-minded ways to create ventures primed to address societal needs in meaningful ways. The student teams engaged in ideation, customer discovery, value proposition development, and venture planning exercises through the inaugural NU Launch Business Pitch competition and the student Entrepreneurship Club. In the spirit of a convocation or “coming together,” this was the perfect opportunity for our rising undergraduates to celebrate the accomplishments of our current seniors. Undergraduates could also look to the future and set elevating goals for themselves and recognize that there are many opportunities for students to do meaningful things throughout their time at Norwich. Finally, our undergraduates could see first-hand that there is a great support network for those willing to engage.

convocation 7Although not “usual,” one hopes that this exhibition of student work from all class years and the professional conference format of the engineering convocation will become a new tradition here at Norwich.

During research abstract and poster presentations, senior projects were being judged by Board of Fellow members, many of the visiting alumni, and a few faculty members to round out the field of judges. (See below for the winners announced later in the day.)

Next on the agenda was a luncheon, when attendees took over the Rook Dining Hall in the Wise Campus Center for a sumptuous Sodexo meal and good conversation. This was followed by a short walk back to Dole Auditorium, where the engineers listened to the Keynote Address by Col. Capobianco and applauded the various awards and scholarships traditionally given at the event.

The winners of the Senior Project Design Presentations were also unveiled and are listed below by department.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ed Hayes, John Lobkowicz, Richard Veno, “PCI Big Beam Competition” (466 points)
Advisor: Edwin Schmeckpeper
Customer: Carrara Concrete Co. Regional competition

Corinne Baita, Richard Colburn, Anthony Mushaw, “Shadow Lake Gate House and Lake Level Mitigation” (461 points)
Advisor: Michael Kelly
Customer: Town of Glover, VT

John Murphy, Henry Regalado, “Steel Bridge” (443 points)
Advisor: Edwin Schmeckpeper
Customer: ASCE Regional Design Competition

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Skylar Croy, Jeffrey Fortuna, Nathan Tong, “Search and Location Rescue Assistive Technology (SAL the RAT)” (483 points)
Advisor: Ronald Lessard

Ryan Grindle, Kenneth Knight, Kenneth Owens, “Stand-Alone Video-Analytic Network Tool (SAVANT)” (481 points)
Advisor: David Feinauer
Customer: Organizational Strategies, Inc.

William Keenan (ECE), Ian Sellers (ME), “Controller-Based Carving (CoBaC)” (454 points)
Advisor: Michael Prairie
Customer: Mayo Healthcare Resident

Mechanical Engineering

Spencer C. Nath, Thomas H. Eastwick, Brian W. Loveless, “Space Case: Bringing Hand-held Devices to Space” (466 points)
Advisor: Randolph D. Friend
Customer: Vermont Space Grant Consortium

Tyler Carbone, Grisha Bourlakov, Mitch St. Onge, Andrew Janowicz, “Brewster Angle Microscope” (420 points)
Advisor: Karen Supan
Customer: Prof. Arthur Pallone (NU Physics), Norwich Office of Sponsored Programs

Casey Mitchell (ME), Adam Nichols (ME), Alexander Hibbard (ECE), “Ballistic Anemometer” (418 points)
Advisors: Donald Wallace (ME), Jacques Beneat (ECE)
Customer: Norwich University Advanced Research Institute (NUARI)

After the formal ceremonies, the students, faculty and visiting alums broke into groups by department to end the day with more intimate discussions. This was the time for the alums to share wisdom and war stories with the students who are following their footsteps into the engineering profession. Just before dinnertime, the gatherings dissipated, leaving the imprints of legacy, fulfillment and future on which all could reflect.