GVSU hosts high school students at engineering graduation, conference

Muskegon Area Robotics Students FIRST team
Muskegon Area Robotics Students FIRST team
Posted on

More than 60 engineering students participated in a special graduation ceremony August 2. They joined the thousands of Grand Valley alumni who are helping to drive the state’s economy with their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degree.

At the Order of the Engineer ceremony — a traditional commencement ritual — each student received an iron ring, placed on the little finger of the working hand, which symbolizes bridging the step between training and experience. Engineering graduates at Grand Valley earn their degrees later than the traditional spring ceremony because they complete a yearlong co-op experience with a company.

The 15th annual Engineering Design Conference also took place August 2. The conference celebrates the completion of the Capstone Design Program and the Grand Valley partnership with local industry, in which teams of senior engineering students solve real-world engineering design problems.

Among visitors of the conference was the Muskegon Area Robotics Students FIRST team. The group of high school students, also called MARS Rovers, were hosted by Arn Boezaart, director of Grand Valley’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, and Mike Gerstweiler, lead mentor of the team and Muskegon business owner.

“We were pleased to provide the opportunity for this group of students to see all the projects and to meet engineering graduates,” said Boezaart. “MAREC actively supports efforts to advance interest in STEM education and move students toward greater involvement in technology careers. STEM is an important foundation for the technological innovation needed in science and industry.”

The MARS Rovers will demonstrate their robot, named Discobolus for its Frisbee-throwing abilities, at the Innovation After Hours event on September 17 at MAREC. FIRST is an international organization that uses robotics competitions to get K-12 students excited about science and technology. Grand Valley hosts the West Michigan district competition every year in Allendale.

Sponsors of this year’s senior projects include Attwood, Arris, Cameron, Dorner Works, Engine Power Components, Gentex, Johnson Controls, Gill Group, Koops, Magnum Engineering, Rapid-Line, SAF-Holland and Trane.