N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering Senior Design Expo Showcases Problem-Solving and Undergraduate Research

By Alexander Saunders / 05/04/2021 College of Engineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 4, 2021) – The eighth annual College of Engineering Senior Design Expo at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University took place virtually on April 29, showcasing student talent and innovation. The event displayed the culmination of the students’ undergraduate careers in engineering and computer science.

At the expo, students presented the results of their senior design capstone projects, which tasks student teams to apply and extend their knowledge and skills in creating complex solutions for real-world industry problems. The highlights of the event were the students’ real-time presentations of their projects, the videos of the working projects, and the teams’ agility in responding to questions and feedback from corporate judges representing a wide array of engineering and computer science disciplines.

The event kicked off with interactions between the students and the sponsors of this year’s event, NetApp and Aptiv. Leigh Smith, talent outreach manager at NetApp, opened with a presentation of opportunities at the company. Glen DeVos, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Aptiv, reflected on the advancements of the engineering and computer science disciplines since he was an undergraduate.

“When I think about my senior project years ago, it was all that knowledge applied to a practical application. It will be amazing to see the new ideas and new concepts coming out of the senior design expo. Engineering has advanced so much since I was in school and the solutions are so much more complex,” said DeVos.

The source of the design problems of each year’s expo are either corporations or faculty, and each student team is advised by faculty of the College of Engineering.

“It’s one thing to support us financially and we also appreciate what you bring to the event through your engagement with the students,” Robert Powell, co-chair of the Senior Design Expo planning committee, told corporate sponsors and judges during the kickoff.

Before the event concluded, the judges shared that they were impressed by the breathtaking diversity of disciplines and applications showcased at the event. “The diversity of topics covered, the depth of research the students and their advisors were capable of working on during a pandemic, the collective problem solving... It’s one thing to get a degree, but these students clearly love what they are doing at North Carolina A&T,” Lawrence Williams, of Aptiv, said during the awards presentation.

This year’s winning posters and presentations were:

  • 1st Place: “Production of Fertilizer Grade Urea Prills: Prills for Thrills”

Competitors: Brigitte Ampolini, Erin White, Kathryn Johnson, and Kiana Baylor
Advisor: Omar Basha, Ph.D., instructor, Department of Chemical, Biological and Bio-engineering

  • 2nd Place: “CAN to Middleware Connectivity Bridge”
    Competitors: Batool M. Khader, Xinchen Hu, Judith Hernandez-Campillo, and Haotian Wang
    Advisor: John Kelly, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 3rd Place: “North Carolina A&T Rocket Team: Aggie Rocketry”
    Donovan McGruder, Alex Bibb, Brandon Davis, Dymon Atkinson, Joseph Justice, Terrance Dwamena, Torrence Eberhart, Travis Rolle and Zaniyah Dock
    Advisor: John Kizito, Ph.D., professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

The additional semifinalist projects were (in no particular order):

  • EcoFlo Process Flow Analysis, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • MatLab Controlled Drone Swarm, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Baja SAE 2021, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical System and Lighting Design of Greensboro Artscapes Gallery, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Versatile Quadcopter Drone, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Winners of the video demonstrations were:

  • Judges’ Choice

Video #17 SAE Aero Design Team
Competitors: Hussain Aloqayli, Terrence Dunlap, Mikayla Lewis, James McNeill, Derek Pagani, Mekhi Seraile, Frederick Slott, Shantiona Vincent
Advisor: Simon Essau, Department of Mechanical Engineering

  • People’s Choice

Video #10 Aggie Racing ‘21
Competitors: Anton Starodubsev, Ryan Sexton, Pia Agliam, Caitlyn Smith, Esteban Prezas-Garces, Albin Biju. Corey Pender, Matthew Rcom, Amarcus Simms
Advisor: Daniel Acree, instructor/lab coordinator, Department of Mechanical Engineering

View all of the videos from the expo here.

First-place winners Prills for Thrills sought to reduce waste in the production of urea prills, which farmers and agricultural companies utilize to produce healthy crops and feed for animals.

“Urea is one of the most widely used fertilizers in the world due to its high nitrogen content. This makes it especially important to continue improving the production process to make it more cost-effective and environmentally friendly,” said Ampolini.

 The winning Senior Design Expo team consists of chemical engineering graduating seniors Kiana Baylor (left), Brigitte Ampolini (middle), and Erin White (right)
 The winning Senior Design Expo team consists of chemical engineering graduating seniors
Kiana Baylor (left), Brigitte Ampolini (middle), and Erin White (right)


Part of the evaluation of teams is to demonstrate a whole-team effort, a skill vital to the students as they enter the next phase of their careers.

“I was able to form great relationships with my teammates and, overall, I feel as though this is what it will be like in industry working with people from multiple disciplines to be able to complete projects and meet goals,” said Baylor, a chemical engineering senior.

“Working on such an amazing team really helped me on this journey through my undergraduate career and made me feel more confident in my abilities as an engineer,” said teammate White. “Our group chemistry on this project has allowed me to utilize everything that I have learned in my chemical engineering courses in one way or another.”

Congratulations to all presenters, to the eight semifinalists, the poster winners and the video competition winners.

“The college appreciates the student teams, the event sponsors, projects sponsors, the faculty coaches, the judges, and volunteers for the key roles you all played in ensuring the success of this year’s Design Expo. Thank you especially to our planning committee for producing this year’s event,” said Robin Coger, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering.

In addition to Powell, the planning committee members were:

  • Isaac Cho, Ph.D., co-chair
  • Mary G. Holloway, coordinator
  • Tamera Ziglar, corporate sponsorship
  • Daniel Acree, faculty
  • Stephen J. Oneyear, faculty
  • Matthew McCullough, Ph.D., faculty
  • Omar M. Basha, Ph.D., faculty
  • Tadilo E. Bogale, Ph.D., faculty
  • Boyce E. Collins, Ph.D., research

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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