Senior Engineering Design Conference showcases students’ innovative projects

Contact: Cindy Wagner

Each semester, graduating seniors complete capstone projects that put their knowledge and skills into practice in real-world settings. They share the results during the Senior Engineering Design Conference.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Student innovation will on display at Western Michigan University as graduating seniors present their final projects including plans for upgrades and a redesign of Veterans Memorial Park in Colon, Michigan; an enhanced a simulation that offers students practice in preventing cyberattacks; and improvements for WMU’s Formula SAE cars to assist future teams.

More than 280 engineering and applied sciences students were able to put their academic knowledge to work for the 72nd Senior Engineering Design Conference, which will be held Tuesday, April 18. Presentations begin at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day in Floyd Hall, home of WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Every semester, graduating seniors are required to complete capstone projects that put their knowledge and skills into practice in real-world settings. Students complete projects for, and in collaboration with, industry sponsors, the regional community and our own campus.

“Being able to work on this project reaffirms why I have chosen to go into civil engineering,” says Victoria Powe of her part in the Veterans Memorial Park project. “I want to make a difference and create a positive impact on communities. It is such a rewarding experience to be able to bring their project to life, especially since it holds such great community value.”

The cybersecurity team applied their knowledge of Python programming language using Django framework to develop an intrusion detection system. The culmination of all classes and each member’s knowledge and background was necessary to complete the project.

“Working in a team is an essential part of any IT position, and was especially true in this project,” says cybersecurity student Jesse Blain. “It is important to have project management skills, technical skills and problem-solving skills to keep all members on a project on task.”

For Formula SAE team member Alex Means, the experience came down to the importance of planning.

“It is incredibly important to make a comprehensive plan to take you from research and design to manufacturing and implementation, but it is just as important to be ready to completely change that plan in case something goes wrong,” says Means, an aerospace engineering student.

Participants in the Senior Engineering Design Conference hail from each of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ seven departments and 14 undergraduate majors. The event is held twice each year, in April and December, and allows students to showcase their work, provide fresh perspectives and demonstrate new systems for their projects.

Read about this semester’s projects

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