University of Calgary

Engineering students race against tough deadline for national honour

UToday HomeFebruary 25, 2013

By Jennifer Sowa

Organizer Curran Eggertson (centre) congratulates the senior design team on its first-place finish at the Schulich Engineering Competition. Left to right: Michael Poscente, Adam Yarschenko, Paul Coyle, and Riley Booth. Photo by Kelvin YipOrganizer Curran Eggertson (centre) congratulates the senior design team on its first-place finish at the Schulich Engineering Competition. Left to right: Michael Poscente, Adam Yarschenko, Paul Coyle, and Riley Booth. Photo by Kelvin YipA team of fourth-year students from the Schulich School of Engineering will represent the University of Calgary at the Canadian Engineering Competition in Ottawa March 7 – 10.

Adam Yarschenko, Paul Coyle, Michael Poscente and Riley Booth will face competitors from post-secondary institutions across Canada at Carleton University.

The students will compete in the senior design category, which means they’ll have eight hours to come up with a solution to a real engineering problem, design and build it. They’ll get a chance to test it before presenting the design to a panel of judges the next day.

“What I like about these competitions is the design aspect,” explains Riley Booth, a mechanical engineering student. “It’s a lot of fun to get your hands on something, build it and see it work.”

And because they have to build something in a matter of hours, in many ways it’s more satisfying compared to a project that takes months, adds electrical engineering student Michael Poscente.

Adam Yarschenko, mechanical engineering student, says the competitions are a great way to complement classroom learning.

“The hands-on experience is really important, just being able to see first-hand how everything works together.”

The team qualified for the Canadian Engineering Competition after placing first in their category at the Schulich Engineering Competition in November, then placing second in senior design at the Western Engineering Competition in Victoria in January. In both events, the team had to construct and program a remotely-controlled robot to perform a task that could conceivably be required in a real-life situation. At the Schulich competition, their robot had to retrieve a bomb from the shattered remains of a bridge.

“We’re expecting the upcoming competition to be even more challenging,” says Paul Coyle, software engineering student. “We’ll be relying on our technical knowledge along with teamwork and problem solving skills.”

They haven’t been given any clues about what to expect at the national event. But because they’ve worked well together in the past, they’re confident their ability to collaborate and think creatively will give them a competitive edge.

 

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