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Faculty of Agriculture engineering students win national competition two years in a row

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on March 27, 2018 in News
Logan Miller, Paul Diamond, Shannon O'Connor and Justin Thorne with their prototype developed at the competition.
Logan Miller, Paul Diamond, Shannon O'Connor and Justin Thorne with their prototype developed at the competition.

by Emma Geldart

A team of four second-year engineering students from Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture recently competed in the Canadian Engineering Competition in Toronto bringing home the top prize for the second year in a row.

Justin Thorne (Cooks Brook), Shannon O’Connor (Valley), Logan Miller (Truro), and Paul Diamond (Bible Hill) rose above their competitors to win the Junior Design category of the national competition hosted on March 8-11 at Ryerson University in Toronto.

The Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) is an annual competition that brings together 150 of the most innovative and creative engineering undergraduate students from across the nation to compete against each other in design, consulting, presentation and debate. Each competition category at CEC challenges its participants to identify solutions to problems experienced throughout the profession.

The team of four competed in the Junior Design category which aimed to provide students with a unique opportunity to develop a basic engineering design and construct a prototype, while presenting their solutions to peers and industry professionals from across the country. Competitors worked within limited time and budget constraints to design, create, and test a physical prototype of their proposed solution. The Junior Design category is open to students in their first two years of engineering studies so concepts were based off a general level of engineering knowledge. Each team was judged based on their design, application, teamwork, and performance, with regards to both their prototype and presentation.

To compete at the CEC, teams had to first qualify by placing first or second at the Atlantic Engineering Competition (AEC). The opportunity to compete at the AEC was presented to all engineering students at the Faculty of Agriculture. Justin, Shannon, Logan and Paul expressed interest in attending and placed second in Junior Design at the AEC at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL in January, securing them a spot at the national competition.

At the CEC, eight teams from across the country were tasked with designing and building a cargo handler to be used on a scaled game board representing a shipyard. In a fictional scenario created for the competition, teams were hired by the Toronto Airport Authority to design a lightweight materials handling device for loading and unloading cargo from incoming ships. Their design was required to be capable of handling cargo quickly and safely, as valuable goods arriving from the port are not to be damaged, and efficiency is key when docked ships are in question. Teams were required to follow specific criteria to create their design.

The Dal AC team built a hydraulic claw on a telescopic arm that was evidently a hit with the judges.

“The Engineering Department is thrilled with the success of students winning first place in the National Junior Design Competition,” exclaims Peter Havard, Department Chair. “We are proud of their initiative and organization to participate. This is an excellent opportunity to network with their peers and be recognized as leaders in their chosen profession”

Students were awarded with a cash prize, trophy for the school, and medals and scarves for each team member. Along with their prize, the students met fellow engineering students from across Canada, took home new knowledge of engineering and design, and secured valuable hands-on design experience.

“Attending the CEC enriched my conception of engineering and what it means to be a part of the engineering community,” explains Shannon O’Connor. “I met many amazing engineering students who inspire me to strive for higher achievements and to make an impact on the world around me through my studies.”