Donation recognizes, promotes mechanical engineering innovation

May 7, 2015 | Engineering and Science

Louisiana Tech University’s mechanical engineering program has received a generous donation from the Joe Barnwell Memorial Fund to promote ingenuity within the program by helping to provide cash awards for outstanding senior design projects presented at the College of Engineering and Science’s annual Senior Design Conference.
Joe Barnwell

Joe Barnwell

The Barnwell Memorial Fund honors the enduring legacy of Mr. Joe Barnwell, a highly successful and cherished former faculty member of Louisiana Tech’s mechanical engineering program.
Senior design projects provide a challenge and an opportunity for students to work in real-world situations to help local businesses realize operational efficiencies and save money. Each senior design project is privately funded, mostly by the industrial sector within a 90-mile radius of Ruston.
Dr. Henry Cardenas, program chair for mechanical engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering and nanosystems engineering, said he was thrilled with the solutions developed by last year’s students and is looking forward to seeing how the students will perform this year.
“The mechanical engineering faculty is extremely proud of the towering, real-world impact of last year’s class and is eagerly looking forward to remarkable outcomes from the class of 2015,” said Cardenas.
Last year’s industry donors provided over $60,000 dollars in support and reported that the bottom line impact on their organizations will total over $4.6 million annually, over the next five years. Cardenas says that he already sees evidence of this year’s teams performing much more effectively than those of prior year’s thanks in part to the generous corporate donations. It’s also the result of a new emphasis placed on team development exercises aimed at taking the student teams and turning them into highly effective, problem solving communities.
Dr. David Hall, interim director for mechanical engineering, said that the Barnwell Senior Design Contest provides an extra spark that “pushes teams to develop more effective designs with the spirit of the competition causing teams to invest a tremendous amount of time and effort into delivering the best possible product and presentation.”
Companies actively supporting the 2015 mechanical engineering senior projects include A.J. Weller Corp., Con Agra Lamb Wesson, SWEPCO, Cameron, Intralox, Bill Lewis Outdoors, Bandit Buster, Georgia Pacific and Clement. Conference visitors will be treated to presentations on new and innovative designs and applications from things like robotic pipe inspection, fishing lure manufacture and sweet potato planting.
The Senior Design Conference will begin at 1:00 p.m. May 8 in the rotunda of the Louisiana Tech’s Biomedical Engineering Building. The conference is free to attend and members of the local and campus communities are welcome. Mechanical engineering project presentations will start at 1:30 p.m. in Room 304 of Bogard Hall.
Written by Brandy McKnight –