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(Proto)Typical success

Faculty of Agriculture students win national engineering competition for second year in a row

- March 28, 2018

Engineering students (left to right) Logan Miller, Paul Diamond, Shannon O'Connor and Justin Thorne with their prototype developed at the competition. (Provided photo)
Engineering students (left to right) Logan Miller, Paul Diamond, Shannon O'Connor and Justin Thorne with their prototype developed at the competition. (Provided photo)

A team of four second-year Engineering students from Dal’s Faculty of Agriculture brought home top honours in the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) in Toronto earlier this month — the second year in a row that the Faculty of Agriculture has emerged victorious.

The four students, all from Nova Scotia — 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, which took place March 8-11 at Ryerson University.

The team competed in the Junior Design category of the CEC, an annual event   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.

Junior achievement


The Dal AC team competed in the Junior Design category, which open to students in their first two years of engineering studies, providing them 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.

The competition’s eight teams 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.

Competitors worked within limited time and budget constraints to design, create, and test a physical prototype of their proposed solution. Each team was judged based on their design, application, teamwork, and performance, with regards to both their prototype and presentation.

The Dal AC team built a hydraulic claw on a telescopic arm that was evidently a hit with the judges — and their victory has their department thrilled as well.

“We are proud of their initiative and organization to participate,” says Peter Harvard, chair of the Faculty of Agriculture’s Department of Engineering. “This is an excellent opportunity to network with their peers and be recognized as leaders in their chosen profession”

Making the connections


To compete at the CEC, teams had to first qualify by placing first or second at the Atlantic Engineering Competition (AEC). All engineering students at the Faculty of Agriculture were eligible to take part, and Justin, Shannon, Logan and Paul expressed interest. They 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 CEC, the victory earned the team a cash prize, a 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,” says 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.”


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