Just days after trout fishing season opens in Missouri, students from across the country will try to snag the top prize in a fishing pole design competition at the University of Missouri-Rolla.
What’s the catch? The student-designed poles must allow quadriplegics to use their breath to accurately cast and retrieve a fishing lure without assistance, and land a “fish” on at least one cast. The contest, sponsored by Boeing, is one of four student competitions planned for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) District C Student Conference, hosted by UMR March 3-5. Students will also try to impress the judges with their oral, poster and web presentation skills.
“The conference will give students the opportunity to network with those at other universities and find out what their student chapters are doing,” says Dr. Brad Miller, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and advisor for the ASME UMR student chapter. “They’ll learn about what it’s like to be a mechanical engineer from several distinguished professionals and gather great experiences from the competitions.”
More than 400 mechanical engineering students from across the United States and Canada are expected to participate in the conference, which will include guest speakers, workshops and a mini job fair.
Greg Maryniak, executive director of the X Prize Foundation in St. Louis, will present “Upcoming Breakthroughs in Space Travel and Inhabitation” at 11:45 a.m. Saturday. An instrument-rated commercial pilot with more than 30 years of flight experience, Maryniak was the flight director for Erik Lindbergh’s “New Spirit of St. Louis” flights in 2002. In 2004, he received the Lindbergh Foundation Medal for his role in igniting the personal spaceflight revolution.
UMR graduate Jorge Ochoa, vice president and chief technology officer of Archus Orthopedics, will also address the crowd Saturday evening. Prior to joining Archus Orthopedics in 2004, Ochoa was vice president of research and development at DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson Company where he was responsible for research and development in the joint reconstruction business.
Workshops will include “Codes and Standards,” presented by Don Frikken of Becht Engineering Co. in St. Louis; “Engineering Ethics Education,” presented by Dr. Robert Seidel of the University of Minnesota; “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Economy for Clean Cities,” presented Dr. Fatih Dogan of UMR; and “Emerging Biofuel Technologies at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center,” presented by Dr. Rodney J. Bothast of the National Corn-To-Ethanol Research Center and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Sponsors to date include the UMR mechanical and aerospace engineering department, Caterpillar, UMR School of Engineering, the Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers, the MSM-UMR Alumni Association, John Deere, Guardian Industries and Ash Grove Cement Co.
ASME District C includes more than 60 schools in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.