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Engineering Students Win National Competition

Engineering Students Win National Competition



A five-member team of McNeese State University mechanical engineering students won the 2014 Ocean Exploration Trust’s Nautilus Engineering Design Challenge. Team members and faculty advisers were honored at the McNeese engineering banquet. On hand for the presentation are from left: CITGO Vice President and General Manager Tomeu Vadell, Dr. Ning Zhang, Sandesh Thapa, Garrett Soileau, Pawan Yadav, Nathan Stratton, Daniel Decareaux, Dr. Zhuang Li, and Dr. Nikos Kiritsis, dean of the College of Engineering.
(March 6, 2015) A team of McNeese State University mechanical engineering students won the 2014 Ocean Exploration Trust’s Nautilus Engineering Design Challenge, beating out teams from Stanford University, George Washington University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
           
The competition was funded by the Bechtel Foundation and CITGO.
           
The McNeese team designed the winning tool that will help the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) Nautilus Exploration Program better sample volcanic formations from the seafloor. This new rock-sampling device will be integrated into the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations on the Exploration Vessel Nautilus this summer.
           
“This is an exciting and significant achievement by our engineering students and faculty. The College of Engineering has a tremendous reputation for producing industry-ready graduates and winning this competition illustrates the broad range of expertise of these students,” said McNeese President Philip Williams. “Our long-standing partnership with CITGO is important to the growth and success of the College of Engineering and we appreciate CITGO’s sponsorship that allowed McNeese to participate in this very selective national competition.”
           
CITGO Vice President and General Manager Tomeu Vadell said CITGO is honored to partner with McNeese State University in the Ocean Exploration Trust project and excited that the McNeese student team won the inaugural OET Engineering Design Challenge. “This is a direct reflection of the excellence and far reaching education McNeese students receive in the College of Engineering. Many CITGO engineers graduated from McNeese and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the university for years to come.”
           
The five student teams were selected by the corporate sponsors for the competition. The aim of the competition was to encourage undergraduate engineering students to creatively design solutions to current ocean engineering problems. The sponsors were directly involved in advising the student teams throughout the competition.
           
The winning McNeese design team and its faculty advisers include: Pawan Yadav, Nepal senior; Nathan Stratton, Lake Charles senior; Garrett Soileau, Lake Charles junior; Daniel Decareaux, Lake Charles junior; and Sandesh Thapa, Nepal senior; and Dr. Ning Zhang and Dr. Zhuang Li.
           
The team spent the fall 2014 semester designing the tool to address the challenge and submitted a final design and technical report and made a presentation to the EDC judging panel in December. The winning team was then selected.
           
The review committee was impressed with the McNeese team’s “reduced recoil sampling tool” design, but equally if not more impressed with the teamwork and professionalism throughout the Engineering Design Challenge and during the team’s final presentation, according to Allison Fundis, vice president of education, outreach and communications for Ocean Exploration Trust.
           
“We applaud your dedication to this challenge and are looking forward to seeing your design used by our ROV pilots and scientists at sea,” she added.
             
“I am so proud of our students,” said Zhang. “All of the hard work, long hours and teamwork paid off for our students. Our team was able to successfully design a very cost-effective mechanical tool based off a previously failed design. This competition was a valuable opportunity for our engineering students to engage in active research that will produce tangible results.”