ME Students Score Big in Prominent Competition

Eastern Washington University engineering students are distinguishing themselves in both the classroom and in competition against their peers.

Earlier this spring, members of EWU’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers student chapter traveled to the campus of Michigan State University to participate in E-Fest, the society’s annual engineering festival, where they scored a victory and a final-round finish in two of the festival’s most high-profile competitions.

The event, sponsored by corporate titans such as Boeing and Siemens, allows student attendees to take part in engineering-related workshops, presentations and networking sessions aimed at educating and inspiring next-generation inventors and innovators. But it is the competitions — hands-on exercises that push to the limits the skills and expertise student participants have already acquired — that steal the show.

In the Innovative Additive Manufacturing 3D Challenge (IAM3D), student teams were asked to design and manufacture an emergency-resupply hovercraft that would be put to the test in challenging conditions. Rules demanded that the remotely operated craft, which had to be sized to fit in a 24-square-in cube, must fly its way around an obstacle course and, eventually, pick up a small payload. Eastern’s first-prize entry earned top marks for design, bested the competition for speed around the course, and was judged to have used the highest percentage of parts created with “additive manufacturing,” a type of 3-D assembly.

The team placed the highest in each category they were judged on for the competition, including best design report, the highest percentage of 3D printed parts, and the fastest time on the course.

The IAM3D team was represented by students Qasim AlQasim, Jack Kelly, Joseph Lenoue, Cameron Metcalfe, and Ben Zuniga. 

Another Eastern team competed in the Student Design Challenge (SDC) where robots they created were tasked with retrieving balls placed on freestanding PVC pipes. The EWU team performed well in the preliminaries before being eliminated.

Their excellent showing in East Lancing qualified EWU’s ASME student chapter to compete at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Salt Lake City, a gathering team members will be attending this November.


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