University of Arizona

The Ultimate Challenge

All Engineering students take design courses and complete design projects. That’s one big reason recruiters consider our students work ready. The majority also participate in the UA Engineering Senior Design Program.

Interdisciplinary teams of four to six seniors collaborate on industry-sponsored projects in the fall and spring semesters of their final year as part of the Design Program.

Teams design, build and test tools and technologies in areas ranging from aerospace to electronics and from energy to medicine. The projects are anything but pie in the sky – although many do involve flying objects!

Seniors make discoveries in wind tunnels and at mines, manufacturing and wastewater treatment plants, wildlife preserves and medical labs; and with some of the world’s largest telescopes.

Sponsor a Design Project!

  • Talented and motivated engineering seniors spend the academic year working on your prototypes, to your specifications, and with the results becoming your intellectual property.
    • Explore new technologies
    • Move products and ideas to market
    • Test-drive future employees
    • Boost your company’s profile
  • Many of our industry partners also mentor senior design teams, serve as judges, and award prizes on Design Day.
  • For more information, please visit the UA Engineering Design Program website, email Ara Arabyan or Heather Moore, or call 520.621.3647.

Engineering Design Day 2016

Student Perspective

Industry Perspective

Paving the Road to the World of Work

Senior design teams are supervised and mentored by engineering professionals. For industry sponsors, it’s an opportunity to get to know and work with talented seniors. For students who’ve already done internships with their sponsoring companies, and many have, it could be a chance to clinch the deal on full-time positions.

senior design day
Big Potential for Diagnostics
Watching their contributions come together into a working device was the best part for 2016’s top prize-winning team. “Our slide staining prototype for Ventana Medical Systems could improve tissue stain quality and lead to better disease diagnostics," said systems engineer Danton Whittier.
senior design day
Moving Sensor from Paper to Machine
“The biggest challenge was making sure the design worked when we translated our plans from paper to machine,” said Alex Yudkovitz, whose 2016 team sponsored by Texas Instruments designed a minimal-cost, remote, deep-water sensor system for collecting and sending scientific data.
senior design day
Entrepreneur Wears All Hats, Camera
Brian Herrera didn’t have an outside sponsor for his team’s 2016 senior design project. His virtual reality startup was the sponsor. “We want you to share a whole interactive experience in VR,” said Herrera, who envisions a social media community of Vidi VR users.
senior design day
Making a Lifesaver Even Better
“They’ll become excellent engineers,” Tony Mulligan, CEO of Hydronalix, said of the 2016 teams his company sponsored to refine EMILY, a robotic rescue buoy. One project was a canister to automate deployment and help direct the robot, the other a sonar addition for underwater search and rescue.
senior design day
Patent Next for Feeding Tube Sensor
We could not be more delighted with the outcome,” said Paul Melnychuck, senior director of business development, marketing and innovation at Xeridiem, sponsor of a 2016 interdisciplinary team that developed a sensor to reduce medical errors in nasogastric feeding tube placement.
senior design day
Pocket-Size Defibrillator in the Works
“We want to make the first small, affordable and personal defibrillator that people can put in their pockets and easily carry with them,” said cardiologist Dr. Carter Newton, founder of CardioSpark, which sponsored a 2016 team to design and prototype the device.
senior design day
Real-Life Experiences
“You read a book, you do the math – it only gets you so far,” said Sensintel researcher Aaron Farber. “The Engineering Design Program is a great opportunity to get students into a real-world experience where they’re able to understand what all their class and lab work has been going toward.”
senior design day
Three, Two, One … Liftoff!
For many aerospace engineering students, the senior design program is a launch pad, quite literally. “It was a heart-stopping experience,” recalls senior Austin Smith, who was relieved to see the team’s parachute deploy and the rocket return after its 2,000-foot climb. “Sometimes they don’t.”
senior design day
Turning On the Power
Tucson Electric Power watched their team take the largest prize of all for its 2015 drone to inspect power lines. “Design Day is the most exciting event I attend each year,” said TEP mentor and engineer Christopher Lynn. “TEP is thrilled with the results of the capstone process.”
senior design day
Maquiladora Exchange
Partnering with a company in Nogales, Mexico, brought a sense of the unknown for one Engineering Design team. “But once we got to tour the plant, it gave us a sense of awe. It was amazing to see what a large quantity of automobile parts they were able to manufacture,” said mechanical engineering student Thomas Lundstrom.
senior design day
Heading to Honeywell
Sponsor Honeywell Aerospace was so impressed by its student-designed project – a hologram-based head-up display for pilots landing in low visibility – that the company hired two of the 2015 team members to work full time after graduation.
senior design day
Getting Out of Comfort Zone
Nick Paco had no background in optics, yet he was in charge of the optical aspects of his interdisciplinary team’s award-winning project for Honeywell. “I read everything and watched every video on optics that I could,” said the 2015 electrical engineering senior.

College Perspectives

Jeff Goldberg

Jeff
Goldberg

Dean

“The Senior Design Program is the ultimate proving ground for our students, and an unparalleled opportunity for employers and the community to see what our students, with industry partners, can achieve.”

Jeff Goldberg, Dean
Ara Arabvan

Ara
Arabyan

Program Director

“Few colleges match the systematic level of industry involvement seen in the UA Engineering Design Program.”

Ara Arabyan, Program Director
Greg Ogden

Greg
Ogden

Professor

“Two students on the design team I mentored were hired by their sponsor, Raytheon, to continue their project on developing robotic technologies for the Navy after graduation.”

Greg Ogden, Professor
2016 Fast Facts

Design Day: Where It All Comes Together

Design Day in early May is the biggest event of the year in the UA College of Engineering. It is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work, the time for teammates to display their prototypes and demonstrate their promise as future engineers.

Students dazzle the crowds with their creations for better crossbows and cardiac stents, robots and rockets, recycling systems and wireless antennas, for example. It’s an unforgettable experience that often leads to cash prizes and job offers.

Top 2016 Senior Design Projects

  • On-slide reagent concentration feedback and control for better histopathology staining
  • Method to harvest usable energy from the magnetic fields of power lines
  • Process for repurposing ethanol plant for whiskey production
  • System for verifying accurate placement of nasogastric (feeding) tube
  • Long-distance remote sensor for measuring deep water quality
  • Microfluidic-based human lung model for studying drugs and toxins
  • High-throughput curing oven for tissue being tested for cancer
  • Robotic knee extension simulator for studying surgical techniques
  • Sonar for EMILY ocean rescue robot to enable underwater search and recovery
  • Low-cost shut-off device for toilet leak and flood prevention
  • Improved entry-level crossbow design
  • Inkjet-printed antennas for wireless communication

See a complete list of the 2016 winning projects and teams.

Design Day 2016

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