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News & Stories: 2007-08

Innovation, hard work on display at Senior Projects Night
May 9, 2008

Students present their senior engineering project"I feel dumb in here,” remarked Dave Fortosis, Calvin business alumnus ’07.

The “here” Fortosis was referring to was the 24th-annual Senior Projects Night for Calvin engineering students. On Saturday May 3, 16 teams of three to four students showcased and celebrated the completion of their senior design projects and their Calvin careers.

"It was a chance to explain to other people what we have been up to all year,” said Jon Cooper, an engineering major with a concentration in civil and environmental engineering, “and express the pride we have taken in our projects.” “Cambodianfinity,” the team comprised of Cooper and Aaron Van Proyen, Mark Volle and Mike Vance, designed an agricultural research center for a Christian university in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  (The team name is a veiled reference to their favorite television show, “The Office.”)

Rehydrasicle: Recumbent Hydraulic Bicycle

The evening began with an open house in the engineering building, where family and friends walked around viewing the projects and chatting with students. Some teams displayed a physical representation of their designs, such as the “Rehydrasicle,” a hydraulic-powered bicycle created by Bill Tolsma, Eric Bratt, Matt Snyder, and Aaron Maat, all of whom have a concentration in mechanical engineering. Other teams presented blueprints or computer-generated tours of their designs. Almost every 20 minutes, the team “On Wings Like a Penguin”—mechanical concentration students Chris Lowell, Joe Englin, Eu Sung Chung and Philip Baah-Sackey—fired up their hovercraft, filling the room with noise.

After two hours, the event relocated to the Commons Dining Hall where faculty, students and guests were served pork loin, asparagus and redskin potatoes. Engineering professor David Wunder led devotionals, while colleague Ned Nielsen imparted stories and congratulations.

The night closed with team presentations in the Science Building, North Hall and Commons Lecture Hall. The teams split into four different groups and gave 20-minute presentations of their designs.

The last few weeks, said the senior engineers, have been marked by long hours, stress and copious amounts of caffeine. “Kinko’s is open 24 hours,” commented Cooper.

Students have been working on the projects since September. “I’m ready to be done with the grind of engineering homework,” said engineering student Alex Marcus. He worked with Nathan Verseput and Jordan Terpstra on “The VER-TERCUS Complex” (a fusion of their last names), an outdoor athletic facility to host baseball, soccer, lacrosse and rugby games on the Calvin campus.

“It is exciting to look at possibilities for the future,” Marcus said. “Everybody who wants a job has been offered or accepted, a testament to what the program is.”

Nielsen considers the event, “the highlight of four years at Calvin”: “In a larger sense, this banquet, this showing, is really their graduation,” he said.

~by Katie Landan, communications & marketing student writer

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