From rocket engines to boba tea makers, Senior Design Day showcases engineering excellence and ingenuity at The University of Akron



On Tuesday, April 16, over 500 individuals gathered at the John S. Knight Center in Akron to celebrate the hard work and achievements of senior students in the College of Engineering and Polymer Science (CEPS) at The University of Akron (UA).

Senior Design Day highlights these graduating seniors as they present their Senior Capstone Projects which are built on the knowledge they have gained through classroom and experiential learning opportunities during their time at UA. This event exemplifies the high-quality curriculum CEPS offers its students by providing opportunities to “learn by doing” through hands-on, practical and major-specific projects.


This year’s event was the largest to date, as faculty, family, high school students, classmates and members of industry interacted with students and their projects ranging from liquid-fueled rocket engines to boba tea makers to electric guitar pedals to biomedical engineering prototypes. These senior projects represented the outstanding engineering and computing programs at CEPS and the future of engineering.

“Senior Design Day was a great opportunity to invite and show high school students a visual representation of what engineering is,” shared Jordan Brlan, associate director of recruitment and retention at CEPS. “This year, over 150 high school students attended and were able to explore and ask questions about the senior projects. These opportunities to interact and engage with our students provided them with a better understanding of engineering and gave them a picture of what being an engineering student at UA looks like.”


The following engineering and computing disciplines were represented: aerospace systems engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, corrosion engineering, electrical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering technology, mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology.

“Senior Design Day is one of the highlights of the year,” said Dr. Joan Carletta, associate dean of CEPS. “Our graduating seniors put together the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout their studies on a wide variety of impressive and interesting design projects. For us, the day is an opportunity for students to interact with members of our industrial advisory boards, for future students to learn more about our majors in engineering, engineering technology and computing, and for the entire community to celebrate what our students have accomplished.”



Department of Biomedical Engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering Senior Design courses followed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medical Device Design Process which included design controls, risk management, and verification and validation of engineering and customer requirements. Students were placed into teams of four and voted on projects in which they were most interested. They were then grouped based on their preferred project. This year, the department collaborated with Akron Children's Hospital physicians on several student team projects. The goal was to learn the design process, gain experience managing a project and working on a team, and produce a functional prototype by the end of the courses. The projects were coordinated by Dr. Justin Baker.


Department of Chemical, Biomolecular and Corrosion Engineering

Chemical Engineering, Corrosion Engineering

The Chem-E Car Design Team from the Department of Chemical, Biomolecular and Corrosion Engineering wowed attendees with their newly built shoebox-sized car, “The Amazip,” supervised by Dr. Nic Leipzig. Powered by an innovative zinc-manganese dioxide battery made entirely from raw materials and featuring a unique sulfur-based stopping mechanism, “The Amazip” promised to revolutionize eco-friendly transportation.

In addition, the department also presented undergraduate research on corrosion and chemical engineering. Delving into the effects of AC interference on pipeline corrosion, Tanner Laughorn and Mark Labib in corrosion engineering, advised by Dr. Qixin Zhou, revealed crucial insights for infrastructure protection. Delia Weitzel, Johnathan Bettes, Mark Labib and Tanner Laughorn in chemical engineering, advised by Dr. Bi-min Newby, showcased their work inspired by nature’s non-wetting properties to explore surface features’ impact on surface energy and wetting transition of 3D printed textured surfaces. With innovation at our core, we are shaping the future of engineering.


Department of Civil Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering students participated in the event by presenting their senior design posters. The class of 37 students worked on seven different design projects in teams of five or six. These projects incorporated the four disciplines of the department's undergraduate program. Each team presented a poster that displayed the objectives, methodology, final design with CAD drawings, and project cost estimates for their project. The use of commercial design software and the prevalent design standards and codes were an integral part of all the projects.

The types of projects included the structural design of frames and foundations, building design, site plan development and civil design, parking lot layouts and design, storm water management, soil test results analysis and geotechnical design, soil stabilization and remediation methods, safe removal, disposal and stabilization of “Gorge” dam pool sediments, design of temporary pipe network for slurry disposal, and Kent Road and Marsh Road intersection improvement design.

The department gratefully acknowledges the following industry sponsors for providing these projects and for their technical support: Kevin Coon (Osborn Engineering), Casey Poe (City Architecture – Akron), Kevin Noble (Scheeser Buckley Mayfield), Michael Jones (City of Stow), Sai Ganapuram (Palmer Engineering Company), Chris Schmidt (The Davey Resource Group) and Heather Ullinger (City of Akron Engineering Bureau). These senior design projects were completed under the guidance of Dr. Anil Patnaik.

The Concrete Canoe Design Team and Steel Bridge Design Team also displayed their specialty materials and a poster to showcase their activities and methods used in the 2024 ASCE Eastern Great Lakes Student Symposium which was hosted this year by UA.


Department of Computer Science

The Computer Science senior seminar (Capstone Project) class had 36 enrolled students working on 27 projects. The senior design coordinator was Dr. En Cheng, and she guided and instructed the students to formulate design, develop and test project deliverables in software testing. Fifteen projects were presented this year. Projects ranged from web-based machine learning applications to video game development.


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering had 46 students and 13 design teams presenting demonstrations as a culmination of three semesters of capstone design classes guiding the design and development of their projects. The courses began with the development of their own proposal outlining the needs, objective, background, and approach, and continued through the development of requirements, schedule, paper design, parts selection and build. The final semester brought everything together to build, test and demonstrate.

The Senior Design coordinator was Dr. Michael Lichter. Each team had a faculty advisor and they were Dr. Osama Alkhateeb, Dr. Hamid Bahrami, Dr. Igor Tsukerman, Dr. Nathan Ida, Dr. Yan Zhang and Dr. Mohammed Ali. These instructors guided the students from concept to creation of their product in a similar way they will encounter the workplace.

The devices included motion control, mobile phone applications, satellite communications, rocket flight computer, teaching aids for sign language and music, flying drones, automation, and longboard control and riding statistics.


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Aerospace Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Technology

Over the past two semesters, 148 students in 56 teams from the Department of Mechanical Engineering were enrolled in the capstone design (Senior Design) projects course. Fifty-three projects were presented this year. The senior design coordinators were Dr. Gopal Nadkarni and David Peters and they advised and instructed the students to form cohesive teams and formulate design, build, model and test project deliverables for specific engineering challenges. The project types and sponsors were divided into four categories: academic research, industrial, college teams and innovation. Projects ranged from designing and building a “boba tea maker” to designing and developing a solid-state rocket engine.

The Mechanical Engineering Technology senior mechanical projects class had 35 enrolled students working on 26 projects, 12 of which were sponsored and mentored by industry partners. The coordinator of the design projects, Dr. Mehmet Baysal, emphasized the importance of following a formal engineering design process and project management. During the fall semester, students in the Senior Seminar course focused on defining problems, evaluation criteria, deliverables, and Gantt charts. During the spring semester, the students worked on developing various concepts and decision matrices and built their projects. Weekly discussion groups were set up to simulate engineering meetings in the industry, and the students received regular feedback from both industry mentors and faculty members. The projects ranged from hands-on applications to theoretical design and finite element (FEA) analysis.


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Story by CEPS Marketing

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or