Student Spotlight: Engineering Students go Above and Beyond

By Kaylor Jones

GCU engineering students

Here at Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology, we’re incredibly proud of our determined and driven student leaders. These engineering students have demonstrated exceptional intelligence and skill. Here are just a few of the many exemplary Lopes we’re happy to have as a part of our community.

The Electrical Engineering Club Tackles an Important Project

During the summer of 2017, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Club at GCU completed a seven month-long project for the local Saunders family. Their daughter Ruby was adopted in 2011 from an orphanage in Africa. At the time, the one-year-old had been severely malnourished and continues to suffer from limited motor function due to cerebral palsy. Mechanical engineering major Grant Goodman had been referred to a blog post by Ruby’s mom Linny Saunders asking for help to build Ruby a special wheelchair. Goodman brought the project to the electrical engineering club and the group worked tirelessly for months under supervision from faculty advisor and Assistant Professor Samantha Russell.

In the end, they developed an unconventional wheelchair design that perfectly suits Ruby’s needs and allows her to move forwards, left and right with the help of three oversized buttons. “After finishing this project, I have no doubt that I am studying exactly what God has created me for,” Goodman reflected on the experience. “I have discovered that God has placed a desire within me to be involved in something bigger than a field of study or a career or a means of income. Wherever I go in engineering, I want to be somewhere where I can use the skills that God has given me to bless His children.”

Mechanical Engineering Students Show their Christmas Spirit

Dedicated mechanical engineering students Eric Fischer, Christian Clifton and Matt Furfie spent their 2017 Thanksgiving break creating a Christmas display for the Home for the Holidays light display hosted by nonprofit group We Are Their Future. The organization works to find foster and adoptive families for Arizona’s most vulnerable children. The three students invested over 12 hours into cutting, painting and transporting tall wooden cut-outs to decorate the festival while polishing their skills in the workshop and supporting a great cause.

Engineering Students Build Bridges

Mechanical engineering students in Professor Li Tan’s MEE-352 class had to tackle a daunting project—designing and building a bridge out of K’Nex sets under a certain budget that can hold over 200 pounds of weight. Students were able to apply their classroom knowledge of force, stress and weight-distribution while creating 3D virtual models of their bridges before breaking out the construction toys. Groups worked for weeks to craft the perfect suspension bridge and improve their communication skills. Some teams made mistakes to learn from in the future, and others thrived: Graham Guskey, Grant Senechal and Jared Wiley crafted a completely suspended bridge weaved through with paracord that was able to support a whopping 866 pounds!

Gaining Hands-on Experience with Hydrogel Labs

Students in Dr. Kyle Jones’ biomaterials lab were able to apply their knowledge of biomedical engineering in an interesting and useful way: testing hydrogels. Using controlled compression tests, these students were able to conduct detail-oriented investigations into the strength of various hydrogel formulas. Hydrogels are formed by networks of water-soaked polymers that make up everyday objects like contact lenses and some types of wound dressings and disposable diapers. These educational and highly interactive investigations helped train the students to think like engineers while learning how they may be able to use hydrogels to serve others as a biomedical engineer in the future.

Robotics Students Make it to the Championships

In April of this year, the robotics club, known as the Thunderbolts, arrived in Louisville, Kentucky for the VEX Robotics World Championship. Their robot, Tim, suffered some injuries during shipping and the team members, club president Makayla Jewell, Anna Stair, Ryan Pilon and Roman Kim, had to spend the morning putting a handful of loose nuts and bolts back into place. The judges later spent half an hour chatting with the team about their robot and their numerous accomplishments in their first year as a club, as opposed to the usual five or 10 minutes spent talking to the other teams. The Thunderbolts ended up going home with the Judges’ Award, having impressed them with their talent and passion. With some more experience, GCU’s robotics team will arrive at next year’s championship with an even stronger robot and the skills to hopefully make it all the way to the final matches.

Grand Canyon University can’t wait to see everything that our exemplary engineering students are going to accomplish, both during their college years and as they begin their careers as servant leaders in their fields.

To learn more about how you can become a part of our community of hardworking and driven students in the field of engineering, visit our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.