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Look at ME: Mechanical Engineering Seniors Show Off Their Skills to Potential Employers

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Winter Career Fair Articleimage

Fourteen mechanical engineering senior design teams had an opportunity to showcase their work to recruiters from more than 125 companies at this year's Winter Career Fair.

It isn't always easy for employers to get a sense of a candidate's abilities based on a resume alone. Even more so when the candidate in question is still a college student. But at this year's Winter Career Fair, 14 mechanical engineering senior design teams had an opportunity to showcase their work to recruiters from more than 125 companies.

Kyle Burrell, Dustin Fullerton, and JT McCammon, hoped the opportunity to talk about their project for Cummins would help them land interviews. Sharing the details of the device they developed to improve the engine maker's recommended de-aeration process gave the trio a chance to show their problem-solving skills to potential employers.

"We're working hand-in-hand with Cummins to help them improve their de-aeration process," Burrell says.

Currently, the company's engines are shipped dry-without oil or coolant-to truck builders like Peterbilt, and others. Fluids are added during the assembly process, and assuring that there are no air bubbles in the coolant system is essential to preventing damage to the new engines.

"The current test process is a guy with a flashlight [looking for bubbles as coolant passes through clear tubing]," explains teammate Austin Morris. Morris, who has already accepted a job offer from Allison Transmission, says that Cummins wanted to eliminate the potential for human error, and make the process more efficient.

"Everything is very user-friendly, all the data gets exported to the computer. We're eliminating all the guesswork in the system," he says.

"We wanted all the information from our device to be communicated as clearly as possible," adds McCammon.

In addition to designing and building the physical aspects of the device, such as the 3D-printed box, the team programmed its function using Arduino.

Cummins wanted to be able to pause the de-aeration process as needed, according to Fullerton, so the team built that functionality into the device, as well.

It's the type of real-world experience that employers are looking for in graduates. But presenting the projects as a part of the career fair serves another purpose, according to Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Allen White.

"Here, they're around practicing engineers who are worried about things like implementation and ease of use [in designs]…it's a great way for students to be exposed to those questions. And it gives employers a chance to see the students' engineering approach as opposed to just looking at a resume."