On May 5, UNLV Howard R. Hughes undergraduate engineering students will compete for $20,000 in prizes during the 15th annual Fred and Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition. Thirty-five teams of students from all areas of engineering, including mechanical, civil, environmental, electrical, and more, will showcase their prototypes and have their projects judged by a panel of local industry experts. The projects will be on public display from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV.
A capstone to every engineering student’s academic career at UNLV, the senior design project encourages students to use everything they have learned in their program to plan, design and create a practical, real-world solution to an engineering or computer science challenge.
“Most engineering schools have a culminating engineering project for undergraduates,” said Rama Venkat, Dean of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. “However, most of those competitions are written plans on paper. Several years ago we decided to give our students practical experience by having them not just plan a prototype, but actually build it and present it to a body of industry experts for evaluation.”
This spring’s projects include: an automobile safety sensor that would sense the presence of a live subject and alert the driver if a child or pet had been left in the car; a commercially available drone platform capable of transitioning between aerial and underwater travel while retaining the ability to take off again after reemergence from underwater travel; and an economical helmet that gives immediate feedback on the magnitude of a head impact and provides the wearer to set their own thresholds for notification.
UNLV’s Senior Design is judged by local industry representatives and involves students across engineering disciplines. With thousands of dollars in prize money on the line, the inventions have to be created with marketability in mind. Senior Design teams are offered the opportunity to partner with MBA students from UNLV’s Lee Business School to create a business plan as part of their MBA curriculum. This collaboration has led to UNLV teams winning multiple Nevada state business plan competitions. In addition, the competition has sparked ideas for successful businesses for students upon degree completion and resulted in two patents in just one year.
Beginning in 2002, College of Engineering supporters Fred and Harriet Cox generously provided for monetary awards to be given to the top projects in the senior design competition. In 2015 the $3 million Fred and Harriet Cox Endowed Senior Design Fund was established to permanently fund the bi-annual competition and awards banquet, and give students access to the materials and supplies needed to complete their design prototypes.
For more information on the senior design competition, contact Cheryl Bella, director of communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-895-3965.