Students place high at engineering conference

A group of Grand Valley students who attended the ASME District B Conference in Toronto.
A group of Grand Valley students who attended the ASME District B Conference in Toronto.
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A group of engineering students took high honors at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers District B Conference in March. The students will go on to compete against the top nine districts from around the world at the ASME International Conference in San Diego in November of 2013.

During the competition, the students competed in several events against schools from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ontario. Dan McGrail took first place in the Student Technical Webpage Design category, and Jacob Hall took first place at the Design Fair and third place in the Oral Presentation category.

Matthew Freundl, Thaddeum Tjapkis, Caitlyn Hurley and Steven Quirk, took second place in the Student Design Competition of the conference. The team had to build a remote controlled device that could be used to inspect and perform potentially critical tasks in a disaster area. Quirk, president of the ASME student group at Grand Valley, said the design constraints and requirements for the competition were inspired by the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plants in Japan following the March 2011 tsunami.

“This has been the best year for our chapter,” said Quirk. “It will be the fifth straight year Grand Valley is competing in the international conference, and we’re proud to uphold that tradition.”

The team of Grand Valley students started to prepare for the competition after they returned from the ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress in Houston in November.

“These accomplishments are important to Grand Valley because it shows that we are learning and applying class materials to real world problems,” said Quirk. “Many of the classes I have taken have provided me with the information and knowledge to succeed.”