A team from Frostburg State University’s collaborative Mechanical Engineering program won a prestigious award at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. ASME is the professional society for mechanical engineering in the United States. It serves over 125,000 members and researchers from engineering organizations and universities around the world.
Students Cliff Elliott, Matthew Brew, Christopher Petrocelli, Derek Ruby and David Higgs worked under the direction of Dr. Chandra Thamire, associate professor of engineering. They developed a novel system that enables physically handicapped people to transfer easily from a wheelchair to an automobile or other destination. The team created a conceptual design, performed precision stress analyses and built a prototype.
The group competed in the research competition with teams from all over the world. After a rigorous review process, the team won third place. First place went to a team of faculty and students from Boston VA Medical Center, Cornell University, Harvard University and University of Louisville. Second place went to a team from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The projects were cited at the Congress Banquet for their quality and innovation.
This is the second time that a team from FSU has entered the finals of a major research competition. In 2001 a mechanical engineering project won an honorable mention in the annual research competition of the Bioengineering Division of the ASME. Students and faculty in the program have presented other research projects, including convection in the human eye, buoyancy-driven flows around aneurysms and design of biomedical devices, at research conferences of the ASME and American Physical Society.
FSU’s collaborative ME program began in 1997, with the first group of students graduating in 2001. So far, 18 students have graduated from the program, and nine more expect to graduate in 2004. The program offers students an opportunity to receive a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park while residing at FSU. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredited the program in 2003. It is one of the first undergraduate Mechanical Engineering programs in the nation to combine live and long-distance education components.