First-year engineering students earn awards at Freshman Expo

May 26, 2020 | Engineering and Science, Students

More than 230 students enrolled in first-year engineering courses at Louisiana Tech University’s College of Engineering and Science competed in the College’s 2020 Freshman Design Expo online.

Carter Ray

Carter Ray with his the Student Choice (and second place) project Control with Only Gestures (C.O.G.).

Students used their own labs, equipped with the Arduino microcontroller and various circuit components to build products that they found were missing from the market. Students were encouraged to source materials not included in their kits through online vendors. They filmed their projects and uploaded them to YouTube’s platform for the public to view.

“Our faculty, staff and students had to adjust and overcome many challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the transition to online courses,” Dr. Krystal Corbett, freshman engineering programs coordinator and lecturer of mechanical engineering, said. “For our freshman engineering courses, that transition tested and reinforced our philosophy of empowering students through student-owned labs within our renowned Living with the Lab curriculum.”

Projects ranged from ways to improve medical care to household upgrades to pet supplies. They were so impressive that the Living with the Lab team added a new prize: the Student Choice Award, which was voted on exclusively by other students in the competition. Other awards were selected through a vote by faculty, staff, alumni and the Louisiana Tech community.

In addition to the Student Choice award and the top awards overall, the teams competed for the Da Vinci Award for the most creative project, the Rolex Award for the best-constructed prototype, the Can-Do Award for the most challenging project that worked and the Patent Pending Award for the most novel yet practical idea.

“The students truly rose to the occasion, and the resulting creativity is astounding,” Corbett added. “The ability to create anything with the limited resources and restrictions over the past few months is commendable, but what our students accomplished surpasses that and should be celebrated.”