Design project partners appreciate the affordability and interdisciplinary approach of the UA Engineering Design Program.
UA Engineering Design Program partners come in all shapes and sizes. Many of the newest project supporters are young companies looking to expand their portfolios. Some are led by alumni already familiar with the program’s benefits. Others are just discovering the program’s highly competent student teams and affordable engineering solutions.
Keeping Vaccines Cool
Robert Futch, a 2014 University of Arizona graduate, founded the UA Electric Vehicle, or UAEV, Club and led a senior design team for the group designing a universal vehicle hybrid conversion kit before becoming a project mechanical engineer at SunDanzer. SunDanzer is a local company that develops solar-powered refrigeration for off-the-grid medical, household, military and commercial use.
“Years later, I’m working at SunDanzer and we find ourselves needing some fresh minds on a tough problem, a solar-powered vaccine refrigerator,” Futch said.
“We frequently hire students to help with R&D at SunDanzer, but my experience with senior design led me to believe this would be a great opportunity if we were to submit our proposal to this year’s students.”
The project involves finding a more efficient way to keep vaccines cold in areas with unreliable or nonexistent power grids, such as developing nations or places affected by natural disasters.
SunDanzer is excited to see what inventions UA Engineering students will bring to the table on April 30, 2018, at Design Day. Design Day is the culmination of an academic year’s worth of work for interdisciplinary student teams in the Engineering Design Program.
Bringing Overseas App Development Back Home
Kay Diggs is CEO and founder of Tappetite, a website that serves up a marketplace for independent bakers. The UA Engineering Design Program has provided her with a capable team to develop a Tappetite app at an affordable price.
“I’ve had engineers work on it overseas, but they didn’t do a great job. I always wanted to have an American team, but I couldn’t afford it,” she said. “The team members have great résumés and great grades, and I’m very happy with all of them so far.”
It’s still early in the process, but Diggs is already considering participating in the design program next year.
“We may even hire some of the engineers,” she said.
Adding Depth to Laser Project
Colette DeHarpporte is founder of LASER Classroom, which creates products to teach K-12 students about light and lasers. She wanted to develop an app-controlled tabletop laser fountain to demonstrate the effects of shining laser beams through water. A friend suggested that involving students might be an affordable way to connect with great talent.
“I knew the UA was one of the places that has an optical program,” said DeHarpporte. “And I happily discovered that UA had this interdisciplinary design program.”
Having optics students, mechanical engineering students and a software engineering student on her team has been a great fit for her project, and the group of senior engineering students has exceeded her expectations.
“Everyone kind of really brings something unique.”