Student engineers capture first at SAE World Congress

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Meinecke, Walcott and Gill

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's student chapter of the Society for Automotive Engineers captured first place in the SAE World Congress Student Exhibition Competition last week, extending the WMU streak to five consecutive top-three finishes in the annual Detroit event.

The win marks the third time WMU has captured the top award over the past five years, with earlier first-place awards in 2008 and 2009. Second place this year went to a team from Ferris State University, and third place went to the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Other student chapters competing this year represented Lawrence Technological and Michigan Technological universities and the University of Michigan.

During the April 24-26 event, competing collegiate chapters were required to design a display booth and give a presentation explaining the chapter's operation, using this year's congress theme of "Get Connected." The WMU chapter showcased its connections within the Kalamazoo community, with the overall engineering community and within WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. During the technical portion of the 10-minute presentation, WMU team members focused on their work with new adjustable anti-roll bars for vehicles.

Winning presentation team

  • Michael Nienhuis of Howell, Mich., president of WMU's SAE Student Chapter
  • Baxter Gill of New Boston, Mich., vice president of WMU's SAE Student Chapter
  • Alan Meinecke of Davison, Mich., the aerodynamics leader of WMU's Formula SAE racing team
  • Zach Tuyls of Battle Creek, Mich., team leader for WMU's Formula SAE team
  • Alexandra Walcott of Jenison, Mich.

SAE International is a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. Its annual Detroit congress is one of the world's largest such gatherings, drawing more than 10,000 registrants.