On May 26th SCE students travelled to Pittsburg, KS to compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja Buggy competition in which 106 teams, including several international teams and one all-female team competed. Our team included Jesus Zamarripa, Oscar Vallecillos, Brian Huff, Alireza Farahani, Isaac Chleborad, Dwayne Dsouza and Francisco Garcia-Moreno. Several students volunteered their time and efforts toward helping SCE with their buggy and the competition. SCE alumni were also in attendance to support the team. Governor Sam Brownback stopped to witness the event and wish the contestants well.
The competition included design judging, performance testing, and culminated May 29th with the aptly named Endurance Race where going the distance means a lot more than just having enough fuel. The brutal course is designed to push the limits of the equipment and find any shortcomings in design, construction, and materials. The UMKC team placed 58th out of 106 total entries, showing just how tough the competition is. For the first time a Baja Buggy event was streamed live online and many videos of the event can be found on the Pitt State YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/pittsburgstate.
Following the competition several teams, including our UMKC SCE Baja Buggy team, were invited to bring their buggy and attend the NASCAR races at the Kansas Speedway on June 4th and 5th. Team members had a great time and were able to promote UMKC via the buggy. The team hopes to be invited again to a future event!
A team from Engineers Without Borders (EWB), including seven UMKC engineering students worked during May 2011 with a small impoverished community on the outskirts of La Romana, Dominican Republic, to build a 24 foot tall water tower using shovels, a small gas mixer, and large stack of buckets. . The tower has a 2500 gallon tank that can be filled twice a day. It is estimated that the total capacity of the system is 5000 gallons a day. At maximum capacity the tower can provide potable drinking water to the church and school attended by about 400 children a day and also to about 50 nearby households, each with an average of 7 occupants.
Thanks to everyone’s efforts the project was completed on time and on budget, a great testament to the meticulous planning and steadfast determination of the team. The project started, according to EWB member Chad Brockmeyer, with a preliminary assessment trip in January 2011 “to assess the current situation and develop feasible solutions to address the lack of adequate clean water.” After returning from the assessment trip, the UMKC-EWB chapter of about 11 dedicated students from multiple engineering disciplines designed and planned the construction of water tower. They were aided by strong support and guidance from our Kansas City professional engineering community.
But, our UMKC SCE EWB team isn’t done yet. There is more work to be done in the community and another assessment trip is being planned for next year. It’s clear the team has shown that it only takes a handful of people to change the world, one small community at a time. This project is just the first in a line of many more to come. Financial support for the project was graciously provided by the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, EWB-USA, Black and Vetch, and individual contributions from the students and professionals who traveled to the Dominican Republic.
Matthew Parish — a junior
Computer Science major in the School of Computing and Engineering and a Spanish minor in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences — received a Gilman Study Abroad scholarship and a Hy Vile Study Abroad award from the Truman Foundation. Parish will spend the fall semester studying in Granada, Spain. For the full story see the UMKC Announcement.