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Making A Difference Through Engineering
May 10, 2006

A throng of senior engineers, their family and friends and Calvin faculty members attended the 2006 senior engineering design open house held at Calvin on May 6.

The event, an annual showcase of graduating seniors’ final design projects, drew a crowd of around 600 to learn about the 14 designs stationed throughout both wings of the Calvin Engineering Building. The senior design teams, dressed in their formal best, were on hand to explain their work.

“What I like about this is, it’s celebration time, time to show off what the students have done,” said engineering professor Steve VanderLeest. “A few weeks ago, you wouldn’t have believed it would all come together. But it shows what can be accomplished with a lot of work in a short amount of time.”

GunnarThe student engineers took time out from explaining their projects to greet their friends and family. Monika Gunnar, stayed close to her parents, Vineeta and Pradeep Gunnar, who traveled from Lucknow, India to see her project—an automated pedestal assembly for the furniture industry. The Gunnars, who will return for the May 20 Commencement, professed themselves proud of their daughter. “Over four years, we have seen her grow,” Vineeta said.

“We’re proud of Calvin too,” Pradeep said. “We know she’s in the right place.”

The projects reflected ways the student teams flexed their creative muscles within their mechanical, civil, electric and chemical engineering specialties.

The teams produced a well with the moving parts above ground; a remote-controlled net to trap Merganser ducks to treat them for swimmer’s itch; a cassava grinder; a semi-automated system for furniture pedestal assembly; an electronic navigation and automatic hitching system; a base station to silence cell phones in public areas; the design for a manufacturing plant to produce styrene from benzene and ethane precursors; a tire pressure monitoring system that doesn’t require batteries; a paddleboat that uses hydrofoil technology; a handheld computer that grabs media wirelessly from a library server; a press box and snow management system for the Calvin track; the structural engineering for a boathouse on the Grand River; structural design and analysis for the first academic building of Asia International University in Siem Reap, Cambodia and an irrigation system to bring water to the campus of that university.

“We were pretty nervous for a while,” said Chad Nyenhuis, a mechanical engineer and member of team “Duck Hunt,” about perfecting the Merganser duck trap. “We’ve been working out the kinks all semester. We’re very grateful it’s working this well.”

Zac Snyder, standing next to a video that showed a member of team “Boat!” test-driving the hydrofoil/paddleboat on Reeds Lake, commented: “Some runs went better than others. I’m glad that it worked out.”

And Katie Anderson, one of the civil engineers on team “All for Angkor” talked about collaborating with architecture students from Handong Global University on the academic building for Asia International University: “They provided us with the architectural plans, and there was lot of e-mail back-and-forth. In the event it’s built, we’d all like to go over and see it.”

~words and photo by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson