Engineering student team places second in national design competition


A team of four engineering students — Andrew Dworschak (Engineering Physics), Connor McFadyen (Mechanical), Allan Ng (Mechanical Engineering) and Jenny Yang (Engineering Physics) — won second place in the Senior Design category at the Canadian Engineering Competition on March 2-6 in Calgary.

The Senior Design competition challenges teams to design and construct a working prototype to complete a given engineering objective. The tasks are designed to test the competitors’ knowledge in design theory, technical skills, time management and teamwork. This year’s challenge was called Nuclear Meltdown: a nuclear facility had a malfunction, causing it to constantly release fuel cells (represented by water balloons). The team challenge was to build a robot (Bluetooth or wired) that could collect and bring the fuel cells to containment zones, activate a kill-switch and finally return back to safety in 2.5 minutes. The students were given ten hours to design, build and test the prototype before a final presentation to a judging panel.

“Having had previous experience with VEX robotics kits and Arduino programming, our team felt quite prepared to take on the given task this year!” said Jenny Yang. “Although we ran into quite a few challenges during the design process, we remained adaptable and determined, allowing us to power through in the end! Since I grew up in Calgary, it was great to go home and compete on familiar soil. I had an extremely rewarding experience with both my Senior Design team, as well as the rest of the UBC!” 

The students first competed together in 2016 under the Junior Design category, where they placed fourth. This year, they wanted to make a comeback and are very pleased with their second place win.