Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering

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Answering Real World Challenges with the Fred and Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition

Posted: May 5, 2014

Senior design students at the College of Engineering are hard at work preparing their projects for the spring semester's Fred and Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition on May 8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Cox Pavilion.

The senior design project encourages students to work collaboratively and draw from their overall educational experience within the engineering and computer science programs to create a practical, real-world solution to an engineering or computer challenge. Each student plans, designs, and prototypes a product in this required element of the college's curriculum.

A highlight of the semester to year-long senior design project is the senior design competition, which helps the senior students to focus their efforts on increasing the quality and potential for commercial application of their design projects.

Judges from local industry evaluate the projects on innovation, commercial potential, and presentation quality, with awards presented at the college’s annual Senior Design Awards Dinner the next night. Winners in the following categories each receive monetary awards and a commemorative plaque:

  • Grand prize (one award)
  • Civil and environmental engineering and construction (first and second prizes)
  • Computer science (first and second prizes)
  • Electrical and computer engineering (first and second prizes)
  • Entertainment engineering and design (first and second prizes)
  • Mechanical engineering (first and second prizes)
  • Interdisciplinary (one award)
  • Commercial potential (first and second prizes)
  • Sustainability (one award)

Some students choose to take their prototypes to the next step, filing a provisional patent on their projects with pro bono support from a local engineering alumnus. Recent collaboration with UNLV’s Lee Business School has also resulted in great success, with MBA students creating business plans from senior design projects that were then taken to regional and statewide competitions, where they have repeatedly received top honors.

UNLV faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as the general public, are invited to attend the 13th annual Fred and Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition on May 8 to see the students' finished projects in action.

For more information on the senior design competition, contact Sara Portzel, Director of Development, at sara.portzel@unlv.edu or 702-895-2913.