professors standing near obstacle courseProfessor Rashid Rashidzadeh and dean Bill Van Heyst congratulate engineering students on their work programming model trains to navigate an obstacle course.

Design competition gets engineering careers on track

A competition challenging first-year engineering students to design and program an autonomous model locomotive gave them the chance to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world applications, says professor Rashid Rashidzadeh.

His course in Cornerstone Design is mandatory for first-year students and culminated in more than 70 teams competing for cash prizes April 1 and 2.

The class is highly praised by students for its hands-on approach, says Dr. Rashidzadeh.

“Students thoroughly enjoy the practical aspect of the course, allowing them to put their academic understanding into action.”

Tensions ran high as teams tested their design and programming skills by putting their railcars through a course with such obstacles as a functional drawbridge and customs communication booth.

Learning specialist Darryl Danelon says it was exciting to see the students rise to the challenge.

“For many, this course was an introduction to navigating team dynamics and solving open-ended problems,” he says. “It is very exciting for me as an instructor to see the diverse solutions they explored and how inspired they were to see their ideas through to achieve success.”

Winning congratulations from dean Bill Van Heyst as well as cash prizes were:

  • the $1,500 first-place Dream Team of Martin Eze, Jacob Powell, Boston Woods, and Charbel Yammine;
  • the $1,000 second-place Cornerstone Cadets Justin Byers, Madelon Kidd, Dustin Rees, and Faris Suleiman; and
  • the $500 third-place HCLQ of Harjot Kullar, Luca Mastroianni, Christine Michael, and Qabas Wassef.
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