Writer: Tiffany Acosta, 575-646-3929, firstname.lastname@example.org
After spending two years working on a personal mobility device, a group of New Mexico State University College of Engineering students were rewarded with top honors at the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE) Global Annual Forum held in Detroit, Michigan, at the General Motors Warren Tech Center in late July.
NMSU partnered with international universities, Iberoamericana University and Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey-Toluca from Mexico, Inha University, Kookmin Design Team and Sungkyunkwan University from South Korea and University of Puerto Rico, to win first place in industrial design and second place in the road test competition for their personal urban mobility access device that is marketed to the Baby Boomer population.
“There isn’t a better feeling than hearing your team being announced on stage as the winners,” Patricio Alvarez said. “This year’s PACE conference was extremely competitive and everyone innovated superb designs, so leading up to the awards, anything could happen. We were, however, confident in our design and all the hard work we put in which made our placement only more satisfying.”
Not only did the students design the device, they developed a market and business plan, conducted an ergonomic analysis, designed a manufacturing facility and built a functional prototype. This project is funded by GM, and companies such as Siemens, Oracle, HP and Autodesk also sponsored various activities including mentorship to each team and judging of the PUMA project.
“PACE have provided software, training, certification and industry-related projects to the engineering and design departments at a select group of universities around the world,” said Delia Valles-Rosales, associate professor and faculty adviser. “This type of support to universities like NMSU provides students exposure to and experience with the technical software and systems used by industry as well as helps develop cultural competencies and soft skills that normally students do not get in the regular classroom setting such as self-confidence, self-efficacy and communication skills.”
“One of the most important things about this award is that we as students had the opportunity to prove that NMSU knows how to work as a team, not only among ourselves, but among the other eight universities of the team. Working with people from very different backgrounds/cultures can be challenging, however, we found a way,” Elias Arias said.
NMSU’s team members include Arias, Alvarez, Waleed Aljluwi, Andres Arellano, Marcos Gallegos, Andrea Gonzalez, Abraham Munoz and Keanu Telles. Faculty advisers include Valles-Rosales, Patricia Sullivan, associate dean of recruiting and outreach, Young Ho Park, mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor, and Edward Pines, industrial engineering department head.