Opting In for the Engineering Co-Op

Shane Harrington at an LSU football game.

Shane Harrington

My name is Shane Harrington and I am a junior chemical engineering student. I recently chose to accept a co-op with MAVERICK Technologies for the spring semester. I know that taking a co-op is always a tough decision for many engineering students. Leaving school to work in a whole new town while you watch your friends continue on through their academics is not an easy decision to make. The reason I accepted the co-op is because I felt that experience means a lot to employers, and to obtain a job in the industry upon graduation you need a great resume that sets you apart. What better way to gain practical experience than working with industry professionals for six months?

After the first three weeks working for MAVERICK in Pensacola, Fl I knew that my decision was the right one. I have learned more in three weeks than I could have ever imagined possible. I wish I was a sponge so that I could just absorb all the knowledge thrown my way. Working with a team of experienced engineers to solve real world problems has been extremely rewarding. Also taking what I have learned in my courses and applying that to real situations is a crazy feeling on its own.

I obtained this co-op by attending the career fair at LSU. I talked to several recruiters and then went through the interview process. If I had one piece of advice to give to a fellow student it would be to utilize the resources that LSU gives you and take advantage the great opportunities that are thrown you way. In the grand scheme of things, one extra year of college is nothing if it means a successful life and career after you graduate.

Geaux Tigers!

 By Shane Harrington
Chemical Engineering


The College of Engineering is proud to partner with the LSU Olinde Career Center to provide job opportunities for our students. We encourage all of our Engineering students to check out the resources that the LSU Olinde Career Center provides, including their upcoming career expos!

College of Engineering Networking Reception
February 11, 2015
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: Student Union Ballroom
This Pre-Expo Networking Reception allows employers participating in the Expo to visit with Engineering students in a more intimate setting than the Expo provides.

All Majors Career Expo
February 12, 2015
10:30am to 3:30pm
Location: PMAC
This event will be a one-day all majors career expo. The Engineering Expo will take place on the PMAC arena floor.

Research in the Real World

The LSU Honors College did a Q+A with one of our biological engineering graduates, Linda Cross, about her Honors Thesis research. For the original article by Liz Billet, please click here.

Tell me a little bit about you—where you’re from, how you ended up at LSU…

I’m from Ruston, Louisiana. LSU was always on the radar—I had some siblings who came to LSU, and I also have a sister who lives in Baton Rouge. Georgia Tech was my competitor with LSU. I got into their Honors program, I got into the Honors College [at LSU] and the deciding factor was money. LSU’s in-state, so that’s great.

Coming to Baton Rouge was a big change, population-wise. But I really found a place within the Honors College. It’s a small community within LSU.

Was there anything that surprised you about the Honors College when you got here? Anything that you weren’t expecting?

I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what to expect with the classes, the rigor of the curriculum, what writing a thesis would actually entail. At the beginning, I had to get used to asking for help—get used to interacting with faculty and be able to go to them for assistance with Honors classes. I wasn’t used to not getting the material right away.

Did you find that faculty were receptive to you coming to them?

Definitely. They always want to see that you’re interested in the material and that you’re willing to learn it, and then they’ll help you from there—to teach you, at the beginning, how to learn it, and then from there, the specifics of their subjects.

So how did you get involved in your research?

I started in Biochemistry, but I said to myself, I really want a major that I can be more hands on with, that will apply more clearly in the real world. So I switched to Biological Engineering. I do research on nanoparticle biodistribution. I was planning on writing an Honors Thesis, but I didn’t know exactly what to do it on. I thought, maybe I’ll do it on my research; maybe I’ll do it on my senior design project. [All College of Engineering majors require a design project in the senior year.]

I ended up on an interdisciplinary senior design project—my teammates are mechanical engineers. One of my teammates, Amy Pinner, proposed the project last spring: to design an automated pressure sore reducer for wheelchair leg rests. I was interested in it, so I said, hey, I’ll be on the team. And when I got on to the team, I said, “I could really do more to improve the project through an Honors Thesis.”

Linda and her teammates

Linda and her teammates

Can you explain that to me—an automated pressure sore reducer?

Well, pressure sores result from, usually, over-bony prominences where you have a lot of pressure over a period of time. People with limited mobility don’t have the sensory perception to perceive that pain or discomfort over those areas, and they don’t have the motor control to reposition themselves. So our project worked to redistribute the legs, redistribute pressure, for them.

In the fall [of 2013] we were out in the community. We spoke with mobility-limited patients and wheelchair manufacturers and they gave us feedback on what they would want in the device—what they would actually use, what they have a need for. We also spoke with John Figarola at the National Hansen’s Disease Program Center in Baton Rouge, and they showed us the current technology and what’s being done about pressure sores right now. There’s the automated tilt-in-space wheelchair, which—the entire wheelchair, pretty much every part of it, moves up and down. But for a manual wheelchair there’s not automated technology for the feet. All of the technology revolves around the seat of the wheelchair—mobility limited patients have the technology to move the seat of their wheelchair, but they don’t have anything that moves their feet. So we tried to apply some of those concepts to our project, but with the leg rests. This spring we’ve been building and testing our prototype—with paraplegic and quadriplegic patients at the Hansen’s Disease Program and the Baton Rouge Clinic—to make sure it works.

Wheelchair Design with Pressure Sore Reducer

Wheelchair Design with Pressure Sore Reducer

I saw your presentation at the Honors College Undergraduate Research Colloquium—it seems like you were successful in reducing pressure at those points, but not temperature.

No, our prototype did not decrease temperature. We’re thinking that may correlate with blood flow. The right foot, which was our control foot, did decrease in temperature—we’re thinking that it lost some blood flow, and the left foot, which our prototype was moving, kept the blood flow.

Will you work on this project again in the future, do you think?

Yes—we were selected as one of the finalists for the ASME [American Society of Mechanical Engineers] Undergraduate Design Competition. We’re presenting our prototype at the 7th World Congress of Biomechanics this July. For the conference we may do some additional testing. We have a list of future changes we’d like to make—like implementing a feedback system based on the sensors—and our pad was not as breathable as we would like. There are definitely still improvements to be made.

What else were you involved in during your time at LSU? I know you’re the outgoing president of the Honors College Student Council…

Yes. I originally got involved in a lot through the Honors College Student Organization Fair—I signed up on all the e-mail lists, thought “Oh, I’ll get involved in everything!”—I was a freshman—and when I went to the Honors College Student Council meetings—it was just very friendly and was a very close-knit community. They were very accepting of new members. And their activities were fun and engaging. So I continued in that. I was elected vice president of service [when I was a junior] and then this past year served as president.

What kind of service projects has HCSC organized?

We’ve done service with Best Buddies—we did a kickball tournament with them—and we’ve worked with the Baton Rouge Homeless Youth Program—we did their 2K Walk for Kicks, which raises shoes for homeless children in East Baton Rouge schools. This year we did a local playground build and we organized our first large scale project at the Burden Center, where we worked on reforestation projects.

The skills that I’ve learned through these positions—they’ve taught me a lot about organization, and communication, having to go between peers and faculty and staff. They will definitely apply, wherever I go.

Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans for the future?

I’ve accepted a job at the Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans as a Cancer Registry Assistant. I will be providing support for tumor boards—multidisciplinary cancer conferences [concerning patient treatment]. I’m hoping this work will provide me with clinical experience and the opportunity to follow cases and interact with doctors. So I’ll do that for the next year while I apply for medical school—I want to become a doctor. Right now I’m thinking something in orthopedics, because of my biological engineering background. I want to be directly involved in serving people.

What advice would you give to our incoming LSU Honors College freshmen?

Get involved! The Honors College is a community—it’s very easy to meet new people with similar interests, and goals, and ambitions, just by getting involved in the organizations, or in Laville [the Honors College residence hall]. They’ve developed a lot of programs and events for Laville, and it’s very convenient for getting to classes, or for forming study groups for those Honors classes. Because they are a challenge! It is extra work, but it’s challenging work that helps you develop as a person, both academically and professionally.

Encounter Engineering in Europe

This month’s blog post comes from a group of engineering students who recently traveled to Germany as part of LSU’s Encounter Engineering in Europe (E3) study abroad program! To read more about their exciting trip, check out their blog at http://ecubed2014.weebly.com/

“DAS WERK” 

Originally published on July 4, 2014

Today we visited the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. We began in the gift shop, and as some of us were in line to pay, we almost missed the tour. After running to catch up with our group, we were seated in a room to see an introductory presentation. After precisely 4 minutes and 11 seconds of technical difficulty (our guide was very specific), we had to move on without the presentation, for Germans value promptness. Our Italian/German tour guide, Giacomo, had a need for speed as he gave us a driving tour through the factory – we were driven in a Volkswagen car (that can, as he demonstrated, accelerate from 0 to 60 in only a few seconds) with a train of seats attached behind.

As we zoomed through the factory, we saw cars and car parts being made, assembled, and quality tested. VW uses 2500 robots in the body shop, and the factory produces 3800 cars per day. Volkswagen has taken steps to improve efficiency by using a kind of high resistance steel, which you can visually discern from regular steel because it’s a darker color. Because the high-resistance steel is more rigid, VW can use thinner pieces of steel that are just as strong as the thicker regular pieces – this replacement makes the cars more lightweight, but just as strong. German dance music played throughout the factory for the workers to enjoy, but according to our tour guide, the employees are “not allowed to dance of course.”

Picture

E3 group in front of the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg

The national love of soccer has resulted in an abundance of German pride within the factory. Some machines are green and white in support of the local Wolfsburg soccer team. Additionally, some cars driven through the factory had German flags on the windows. “The Germans are for the Germans, this is clear,” says Giacomo as we zoom by.

Our tour guide has worked his way up through the ranks and knew everything about the factory; he even helped develop one of the newer cars. His expertise included the history of the facility, and he explained to us that, amazingly, some of the original parts of the building have been preserved since WWII. In some parts of the factory, we saw holes in the ceiling where the factory was bombed.

Afterwards we ate currywurst for lunch at a Volkswagen company cafeteria – VW makes over 7 million of its famous sausages per year. The meal was indeed authentic, as well as very delicious. Everything we saw or heard throughout the entire Volkswagen tour was undeniably informative, entertaining, and full of character.

-Anna

Introducing Your Engineering Ambassadors!

Transitioning from high school to college evokes many feelings: excitement, anxiety, and even fear. As Engineering Ambassadors, we know how you feel and are here to help.

Engineering Ambassadors is a diverse, student service group representing all programs in LSU’s College of Engineering. Not only do we have the opportunity to lead student recruitment tours, promote the College to parents, alumni, and friends of the College, and network with distinguished alumni at special events–our work is vital in offering prospective students an inside look into life as an LSU Engineer and making the transition to college as smooth as possible.

Here’s some information about who we are!

Terrell Anderson

Classification: Freshman
Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Fun Fact: I have a twin brother who is also studying to be an industrial engineer.


Stiel Aubrey

Stiel

Classification: Senior
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Broussard, LA
Fun Fact: I have been proficient in French since the age of three.


William “Dino” Behler Jr.

Dino

Classification: Freshman
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Picayune, MS
Fun Fact: I am a state champion power-lifter.


Megan Brunet

Megan

Classification: Sophomore
Major: Construction Management
Hometown: Houma, LA
Fun Fact: I love to surf and also enjoy watching The Walking Dead.


Kristin Ellis

Kristin

Classification: Sophomore
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Plaquemine, LA
Fun Fact: I am an avid {huge/big} fan of the NBA.


Giselle Medina

Giselle

Classification: Sophomore
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Beaumont, TX
Fun Fact: I would like to be an astronaut and work for a private space company.

 

Senior Design and Student Competitions: The IEEE Regional Robotics Competition

Our team, representing LSU, placed third out of twenty universities at the 2014 IEEE Region 5 Student Robotics Competition. The competition was held on April 5, 2014 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The objective was to build a small robot that could extinguish a simulated oil rig fire on a predefined course. The robot had to determine which oil rig out of three was on fire, pick up the correct tool to extinguish the fire, navigate a maze, and use the tool to extinguish the fire. All tasks had to be completed in under four minutes, and points were awarded for number of tasks completed. The robot had to be completely autonomous, which means that it could not be controlled by anyone and had to perform all the tasks on its own.

We participated in the competition as part of our joint Senior Design project between the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering departments. Our team consisted of Nicolas Aguirre (EEC), Joshua Duncan (EE), Gregory Garner (EE), Collin Lee (ME), and Daniel Quebedeaux (EEC). We designed the robot during the Fall 2013 semester, and the manufacturing and testing took place over the Spring 2014 semester. The robot was designed and built from scratch and incorporated concepts from the electrical, computer, and mechanical disciplines.

Robotics Team Group Photo

Robotics Team Group Photo

Our team qualified for the Finals in the first of three qualifying rounds by being able to complete at least one task. After the first final round, we were tied for third with four other universities. In the tiebreaker round for third, we scored four out of the five possible points. This gave us the third place position and was the highest score achieved in competition play. We received many compliments from other universities on the design and performance of our robot. Our team was recognized at the Awards Banquet for placing third. We received certificates, student editions of the LabVIEW software, and a $200.00 cash prize.

We had to learn many technical skills in order to build a successful robot, in areas such as computer vision, microcontroller programming, mobile power, servo and motor control, and manufacturing. In addition to technical skills, we all had to learn about the design process, project management, budgeting, and working together as a team.

The most rewarding part for the team was seeing all of our hard work pay off. We also enjoyed talking with the other universities and discovering the many creative ways other teams approached the same problem. The whole experience increased our interest in the field of robotics.

  – Nicolas Aguirre, Joshua Duncan, Gregory Garner, Collin Lee, and Daniel Quebedeaux