Spring 2021 College of Engineering Freshman Innovation Challenge Addresses Accessibility

By Alexander Saunders / 04/28/2021 College of Engineering

Photo caption: A student explains their team project with their freshman innovation project during the Fall 2019 Freshman Innovation Challenge.

EAST GREENSBORO, NC (April 28, 2021) – Five teams competed in the Spring 2021 College of Engineering (COE) Freshman Innovation Challenge at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The challenge showcased the talent of first-year COE students and their accumulation of knowledge learned during their first semester.

The teams were tasked with identifying a location on campus that could benefit from additional accessibility. Teams then decided the logistics, costs and engineering their respective projects.

Team O’Connell, Inc., won first place by choosing a ramp with guard rails for Vance Hall. The team impressed judges with their demonstrable collaboration, a key lesson this course attempts to instill in the young students. In their notes, the judges remarked on the team’s use of data in the problem statement, providing real costs and carefully using Americans with Disabilities Acts outlines for their project. The team was comprised of the following students from Professor Vernal Alford’s class: Elonda Hunter, Hailey Poole, Maria Landivar Olmos, Manuela Jimenez, Nilah Blackmon and Donte Washington.

The runner-up team, D.U.C.K.T. Engineering, opted for a multi-building solution, identifying concrete ramps for Murphy, Curtis and Hines Hall. They chose this approach by asserting timeliness– if an accessibility ramp can be completed when traffic on campus is low, then multiple problems can be addressed in that same time span. Team members Ki'saiah Ferguson, Usamah Atta, Tristen Hill, Derek Allred and Charlie Betancourt worked together and represented the class led by Leotis Parrish, Ph.D. 

The following judges dedicated their time to review the student projects, offer advice and network:

  • Jade Smith, industrial engineering, W.L. Gore
  • Raquel Teasley, manufacturing engineer, Procter & Gamble
  • Jeff Jones, senior manager, Applications and Systems Engineering, Qorvo
  • David Feldman, manager, Firmware Engineering, Zebra Technologies
  • Laron Burns, senior Cost and Value Engineer, Siemens

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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