Fairfield University
| December 2014 | Fairfield University News Channel

WOW! School of Engineering Students Walk on Water

This Saturday, over 60 engineering students will be congregating at the RecPlex pool to perform the minor miracle of walking on water. 

As engineering students, of course, they will be using their skills to make the impossible possible through a team design project that is part of the course “Fundamentals of Engineering.” 

Students were divided up into 16 teams and charged with designing a device that could “walk on water” (WOW). With four weeks to work on the project, teams must create something that propels a single person to travel the length of the RecPlex swimming pool in a walking or running motion above water. 

Dr. Ryan Munden, assistant professor of electrical engineering, taught the course. “Students have a great time jumping into the design process (literally!).  It’s a lot of work, but tons of fun too.  Though I want them to all be successful, I can’t help but enjoy it when a few fall into the water, too!” 

The course was recently redesigned to motivate first-year students to develop a passion for engineering while also developing skills common to all engineering disciplines. Aside from the WOW project, students have several in-class design projects and have the opportunity to talk with guest speakers in various engineering fields. Other class assignments focus on team building, communication skills, plus creativity and brainstorming, all of which will be imperative for their projects, which they will present this Saturday. 

Students had $100 to spend on their structures and were encouraged to find spare, unused, or recycled materials to work with. In past years, bicycle parts, treadmills, foot pumps, muffin tin shoes and foot flippers were used to create sea-worthy structures. 

Following the competition, all students will present their design process to the entire class and will be graded on their design goals, creativity, performance, and problem solving approaches, among other things. 

About the class, Dr. Munden said, “Students in this class learn that they have to have a passion for engineering, a passion for problem solving.  The real world is full of problems.  They are messy and complicated.  Sometimes the solutions aren’t perfect, but they have to be good enough.” 

This competition is open to the public and the University community and takes place from 2:30-5:30 on Saturday, December 6 in the RecPlex pool. Come show support for our engineering students!  

Watch the video from 2012:

Last modified:  Wed, 03 Dec 2014 08:11:00 EST

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