Difference makers at UND show their work – UND Today

Difference makers at UND show their work – UND Today








Seniors showcase their capstone projects and company prospects at annual College of Engineering & Mines Expo

Brian Tande, dean of the College of Engineering & Mines, meets with students to discuss their projects at the 2024 CEM Expo. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

“Energy Harvesting from Human Motion,” “Electric Drive ‘E-bicycles’,” “3D Printable Beehives,” and a plan to turn two one-way streets in downtown Grand Forks into a pair of two-way streets were just some of the student research projects on display at the College of Engineering & Mines annual Expo on Tuesday, April 30.

Visitors to that Expo were welcome to check out all those projects and more, after they enjoyed a breakfast of 3D-printed pancakes, made by CEM graduate students Tuesday morning. The table of whirring pancake-printing machines was a fitting complement to other displays, such as a bridge frame, a six-foot rocket and the chassis of one-person race car.

In total, 62 different booths, many of them showcasing senior capstone research projects, were available for viewing that morning in the Memorial Union ballroom. Though each project displayed students’ ingenuity and problem-solving skills, people were able to vote on what they thought the best projects were. And assisting in that voting were regional high school students. Hundreds of students across North Dakota and Minnesota had the chance to view the Expo online, and several groups of students were bussed in to view and vote on the projects in person.

Editor’s note: More information about the award winners can be found below.

After welcoming the students, Brian Tande, dean of the College of Engineering & Mines, said there is more to studying Engineering at UND than school work. It’s also about being able to engage in hands-on learning that can make a difference in peoples’ lives, he said.

“It’s great to see all the inventiveness, all the ingenuity, and all the hard work that’s gone into these projects,” Tande said. “This is really what engineering and science is all about.”

Engineering, Tande continued, “is not just about working out problems, doing homework and taking tests. It’s about doing real things, building real projects that solve problems. Thank you to all of you for taking the time to be here and sharing with others all the cool things that you’re doing.”

Molly Forrester
Civil Engineering senior Molly Forrester stands by her research poster. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

One of those difference-makers was Civil Engineering senior Molly Forrester. The Grand Forks-native was on hand to present her group’s idea on turning a pair of downtown one-way streets into two-lane streets. The idea? Ease the flow of traffic in that area and remove the need for those students to have to cross a nearby four-lane thoroughfare when getting dropped off or picked up from school.

Forrester said she enjoyed working on the project and hoped her group’s idea would help to alleviate “Mostly the traffic problems with the school and add more access to the community.”

Forrester won’t have to travel for work as she said she has already secured employment locally in the area of transportation engineering.

Another pair of difference-makers was Zachary Staples and Benjamin Warren, who spoke about a different kind of research project, one in which a regional company had contacted UND to get help from students in solving an actual engineering problem.

That company is Argo, a Canadian manufacturer of ATVs and other off-road and amphibious and terrain vehicles. The company has a manufacturing facility in Theif River Falls, Minn. And while it has developed an all-electric version of one of its models, battery power remains an issue, when it comes to extremely cold temperatures.

Dominik Steinhauer
Dominik Steinhauer, senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, gestures while parking an Argo off-road vehicle. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

“Argo gave us the project of ‘Hey, can we get this to work in negative 30 degrees?” said Dominik Steinhauer, senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering.

Staples and Warren (along with online team members) got to work on how to insulate the batteries, while the electrical engineering component of the project worked on a heating pad system to allow the battery to heat itself. For Staples and Warren, the project was right up their alley.

“We all apply for the projects that we like the most,” Staples said. “We both had some outdoor interests in our resumes and interest package.”

Their one regret? They weren’t able to take the vehicle off land and into the English Coulee.

Zachary Staples and Benjamin Warren
UND engineering students Zachary Staples (right) and Benjamin Warren get ready to discuss their work on the Argo project. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

Beyond Argo, several of the Senior Design projects featured in the CEM Expo were sponsored by various industry partners, with students having opportunities to experience work on strategies addressing real-world issues. Industry projects included: Hess Corporation; Marvin Windows; Retrax; Steffes; AgriTech North and Textron. Many of these companies sent representatives to the Expo to see their project exhibits and visit with student groups.

Below are listed the recipients of this year’s CEM Expo awards:

John Strum, Hunter Hendrickson and Seamus Chegwidden were selected as recipients of the Best Process / Research Project award, for their Materials Research on Campus group.

Laina Behrenbrinker, Yunxiang (Aric) Cai, Carrie Carpenter, Cheyenne Harrison, Caden Knutsvig, Zachary Schwindt, John Snyder and Nicholas Snyder received the Best Prototype Project award, for their NASA Lunabotics Competition Mechanical Engineering Team.

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