November 18, 2016
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers members score high at national conference
Chapter members of the K-State Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers were part of first- and second-place winning teams at the organization's 2016 national conference, Nov. 2-5, in Seattle, Washington.
Jesus Loera, sophomore in chemical engineering, along with two teammates from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, won the Nissan Design Competition, sharing $10,000 in prize money.
The team's winning project, Watching for Safety, involved designing a biometric camera that uses facial recognition to detect when a driver is drowsy, drunk, distracted or having a medical emergency. They then proposed ways to integrate and synchronize the camera with safety features in today's automobiles.
Chapter member Samantha Judd, sophomore in mechanical engineering, was on the 10-member Dell team that placed second in the Extreme Engineering competition. Representatives from Chevron, NASA, Dell, U.S. Army, U. S. Navy, U.S. Marines, General Motors 1, General Motors 2, Raytheon and Boeing hosted 400 three-minute interviews with students, selecting 100 for the final 10 teams.
Each team then had 24 hours to create a company, website, commercial, prototype and product — this year a cart that would attach to a bicycle for transport. The Dell team's WanderCart project earned second place.
Eighteen K-State chapter members attended the conference. LaVerne Bitsie-Baldwin, director of the multicultural engineering program in the College of Engineering, is faculty adviser for the group.
Sponsors covering travel and conference expenses included ExxonMobil, John Deere, Phillips 66, Burns and McDonnell, national office of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and individual College of Engineering departments.