University of Vermont

College of
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Engineering solutions for mankind: CEMS students exhibit their findings

Release Date: 07-09-2007

Author: Dawn Marie Densmore
Phone: Array Fax: 802-656-8802

Three students from the UVM/GIV Engineering
InstituteExcitement filled the air as 114 high school students from around the world and Vermont gathered at the University Mall in South Burlington on Saturday, July 7, to exhibit their findings from an intensive weeklong design engineering program.

Seventeen students from as far away as China, Korea, India, Honduras, and Indonesia joined 97 students from all over the United States and Vermont in a joint venture between The University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), Global Challenge (sponsored by the National Science Foundation), and the Governor's Institutes of Vermont (GIV).

The UVM/GIV Engineering Institute challenged students to create prototype devices and do hands-on testing to modify and perfect their designs. Visitors to the University Mall were surprised to find themselves suddenly engaged in intense conversations with students showing off prototype wind mills, biomass stoves, and aeronautical probes. A few visitors even found themselves being chased by user-friendly robots that were attempting to pick up small toys.

Students come up with out-of-the-box ideas

Alternative heating fuel One student's research project focused on how to design quieter windmills using serrated blades; other projects involved developing carbon-neutral, locally grown alternative heating fuels. Several students examined atmospheric re-entry probes that could fall slowly while collecting temperature, pressure, and other weather-related data. Robotics projects included developing robots that could dispense medication or help paraplegics lift objects.

Each engineering project (aeronautical engineering, biomass, robotics, wind energy, and the Vermont Challenge) focused on using "the power of engineering thought" to address a current human social problem with a unique solution. The Vermont Challenge asked students to look at engineering solutions to issues facing the State of Vermont.

Presenters at the Saturday event included Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, CEMS Dean Domenico Grasso, and a host of engineers from IBM, Qimonda, Husky, General Dynamics, Goodrich, NRG, and Shelburne Farms, as well as other experts in their fields. Governor Kunin's message to students was to be politically active, vote, and work to implement solutions.

"The work of these students is truly amazing," said Senator Bernie Sanders. "I encourage them to continue to work on projects after this program, because this generation of students will face the global warming issues that need solutions."

CEMS Dean Domenico Grasso said he hoped "these hands-on projects provide students with experience and knowledge that will inspire them to major in engineering, either here at UVM or other top engineering programs."

Having both international and U.S. Global Challenge students as participants created an amazing learning opportunity for everyone, according to Tom Tailer, Co-Director and Physics Teacher from Mount Abraham High School. "If the teenagers of the world can work together to solve environmental, engineering, and global challenges," Tailer said, "this gives all of us hope for the future of the planet."