The Synergy of Shared Ideas

YUAA team members standing beside "Artemis"

In one corner, we had Bulldogs Racing, still riding high off their win at the 2013 Formula Hybrid International. And in the other corner stood the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association, who last November successfully launched their prototype high-power composite rocket, “Artemis,” to a height of 4,829 feet.

Though both teams are fierce competitors in their own fields, last night the two teams stood in the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design, relaxed, jovially sharing ideas with one another and with the many other engineering clubs at Yale. This is what it looked like at the Undergraduate Student Project Expo, the second event in this year’s National Engineers Week at Yale.

Yale Undergraduate Intelligent Vehicle team

Originated by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Engineers Week is a yearly event that brings engineering to life in the public eye. Yale has been in on the celebration since 2012, when the week of high-profile engineering events was first coordinated by engineering doctoral students Jean Zheng and Enping Hong, both fellows in the School of Engineering’s Advanced Graduate Leadership Program

“Engineers Week is an opportunity to engage and inspire scores of talented Yale Engineers,” says Isabella Quagliato, SEAS Program Analyst Manager. “At the Undergraduate Expo, all the engineering clubs are together in one space, talking about the exciting things they’re doing. And this is a great chance for the synergy of each project to build—though the students share classes together, they still may not know what the other groups actually do.”

And what they’re doing is a lot. Yale Engineers Without Borders reported on their progress designing an improved gravity-fed water distribution system for a village in Cameroon; Yale Undergraduate Rover Association showed off their recent collaboration with the Yale Grab Lab to attach a mechanical hand to their rover. Many of the teams, including Yale Robotics and Yale Undergraduate Intelligent Vehicles, encouraged attendees to try out their projects firsthand once presentations were over.

Such interactions are an important milestone for many of the teams as they get ready for their respective spring competitions. “The road to competition can be long,” says Quagliato. “An event like this is a chance to get peer feedback in a way that can build momentum for each club to push through the last few months before they face challengers from around the country.”

Engineers Week continues at 6:00pm tonight with a career panel sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The panel, featuring graduate and undergraduate alumni (as well as one current doctoral student), will share their experiences in the engineering field and how Yale prepared them for the challenges they’ve faced.