Senior Design Project at the Engineering Technology Department at NSU

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Students at the Engineering Technology (ET) Department at NSU must complete a capstone design course where they solve real-world, open-ended problems identified or submitted by industrial collaborators.

Students work in small groups over two semesters to identify an opportunity, define the problem, analyze competing needs and requirements, perform prior literature survey, develop alternative designs, carry out cost analyses, and select and implement a design solution.

For the past year, 17 undergraduate students, awarded degrees in the Spring 2017 commencement, were involved in projects with the nearby industry or local government organizations. Two projects were conducted in collaboration with the City of Natchitoches and the one project with Alliance compressors.

City of Natchitoches projects were related to the design of a water booster station and the design of an underground power distribution.  Students utilized basic science and state-of-the-art technology (Pipe Flow software) to complete the study. The underground power distribution project was intended to improve the aesthetics of Natchitoches’ downtown Historic District by converting the above ground power lines into an underground system, which would dramatically reduce clutter and improve the visuals throughout the district.

At Alliance compressors, students worked closely with engineers and production managers to develop an Operation Method Sheet and Standard Operating Procedures to increase the efficiency of a workstation at the facility. Students interacted with engineers and other professional personnel. Results and analysis of all projects were presented to the faculty, industrial partners, and public.

The current ongoing projects are related to a security surveillance system at the Natchitoches Regional Airport and a collaboration with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) dealing with the deterioration of masonry structures.

Senior Design Projects provide a unique and supportive environment for industry to work closely with students and faculty. Students utilize in-house facilities at the ET Department and industrial supports to ensure the success of the projects. This mutually beneficial partnership supports academic excellence by ensuring the presence of an environment where students can learn from a practical application of learning to real world problems. It also supports industry needs by addressing problems and developing strong relationships with students and faculty; emphasizing problem solving skills, team work, and project management skills, and supporting the department in providing a robust and practical curriculum with industry expertise, and equipment.

The ET Department acknowledges current opportunities from the City of Natchitoches, Alliance, NCPTT, and all our previous collaborators.

For information on senior design projects or for organizations with potential projects to collaborate on, contact Dr. Jafar F. Al-Sharab (jafar@nsula.edu), the coordinator and instructor of senior design projects and STEM related activities at NSU.

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