|News & Stories|
|Making A Difference Through Engineering
April 4, 2006
The recording device designed by five Calvin College senior engineering students is nondescript.
But when completed the small, plastic device, which measures just four by nine inches, will store 10 hours of professional quality digital recording.
More importantly, the heat-resistant and humidity-tolerant device will replace the jumble of equipment currently used by Epic Partners International to record native speakers telling Bible stories -- which the organization then uses in its evangelism work.
For the Calvin students designing the device was both an academic exercise and a real-world experience.
"It was exciting to do something technical but also something for the kingdom of God," says Michael Moselle.
He, along with Bryan Klingenberg, Eric Lundy, Josh Jarrard and Scott Heupel created the device for the 2005-2006 senior design project at Calvin.
Their team name is "Microphone Missionaries."
And while the Microphone Missionaries were thrilled to put their engineering skills toward such a concrete conclusion, the Calvin professors in charge of the annual senior design projects are quick to point out that not every project needs to have such an obvious religious or faith-based objective.
Engineering professor Steve VanderLeest says simply, yet emphatically: "We see every project as kingdom work."
The senior design projects at Calvin are the products of a yearlong capstone course, the culmination of an engineering student's four years of study.
The student teams (representing various groupings of mechanical; electrical and computer; civil; and chemical engineering students) work for two semesters to tackle a real-life design quandary in an array of different areas.
This year the kingdom work represented by the engineering projects ranges from a duck catcher to a cell phone muter, while geographically the projects include the banks of the Grand River and the banks of Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia.
“That’s what engineering is,” VanderLeest says. "It’s solving real-life problems and producing technology for people.” And working within design constraints of all kinds is the engineer’s constant challenge, he said.
The finished senior design projects will be available for public viewing at an open house, held 4:30-6 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, 2006 at the Calvin engineering building. A formal banquet for the engineering majors follows, during which they will present their projects.
Meanwhile, VanderLeest is enjoying watching the senior design projects make progress.
"We’re starting to see the prototypes and 3-D CAD models being produced," he says. "As those things start coming together, it's exciting. And, for me, it’s fun to watch them dealing with the challenges."
~written by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson
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