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Clarkson Speed Teams Receive Recognition And Top Place Finishes In Recent Spring Competitions

A canoe made of concrete that can actually float and maneuver through the water.  A snowmobile reengineered for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions and noise. A robot painstakingly designed and built for maneuverability and durability.

These are a few of the creations designed and built by student design teams this year as part of Clarkson University’s award-winning SPEED (Student Projects in Engineering and Design) program. Each year, the SPEED program challenges more than 200 students to participate and compete in a variety of engineering and design competitions, ranging from aircraft and vehicle deign to robotics and environmental restoration.

“It has been another great season for SPEED teams,” said SPEED Director Tina Yuille. “Our teams received numerous awards and solid finishes which met, and at times exceeded, our expectations. We are proud of the enthusiasm and dedication shown by this year’s student participants.”

Division By Zero, Clarkson’s FIRST Robotics Team, finished third in two regional competitions recently held in Cleveland, Ohio and in Toronto. The team also received the Judge’s Award at the Toronto competition, and the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award for persistence, dedication and professionalism throughout the three-day competition in Cleveland.  Division By Zero is comprised of engineering students and faculty from Clarkson University, and students and teachers from Massena High School and Salmon River High School. This year more than 600 FIRST teams from across the country and overseas participated in the 2002 competitions.

Seven Clarkson students supervised by Professor of Civil Engineering Maria Lopez participated in the Concrete Canoe Team, which finished in third place overall at a regional competition held earlier this month in Syracuse. The team also won an award for the best paper category at the competition. The National Concrete Canoe Competition challenges students to design and build a streamlined canoe by creating a magical mixture of cements, water and aggregates that floats. The American Society of Civil Engineers and concrete construction industry leader Master Builders, Inc. sponsor the competitions.

Based on a strong second place finish at a recent regional competition in Syracuse, Clarkson’s Steel Bridge Team has been invited to compete in the national steel bridge competition to be held this summer at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ student conference at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Clarkson competed against 11 schools at the regional competition, placing well in all structural and construction categories and receiving a first place finish for lightest bridge. “We are really excited to qualify for the nationals this year,” said Steel Bridge Team Leader Matthew Hunt (‘02). “We have made significant progress over the last couple of years and we are proud of what we have accomplished.”

One of two groups representing Clarkson’s Environmental Design Team, which is sponsored by Kodak, won an award for best oral presentation at an International Environmental Design Contest held earlier this month in New Mexico.  Sponsored by the Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium, the contest challenges students to provide solutions to environmental problems that have been submitted by private industry and government agencies. The students make oral presentations and develop bench-scale demonstrations of their solutions. This year, more than 350 students representing 25 universities participated in the event. One Clarkson team presented methods they devised for removing explosives residue and other toxic elements from the soil of an old firing range, and another team designed and built a bridge on site using timber from small diameter trees.

Clarkson’s Construction Management Team competed in the Associated Schools of Construction Region One Construction Management Competition held earlier this spring in New Jersey and received a fourth place finish.  At the regional competition, student groups are invited to participate in a heavy/highway competition and a commercial building competition. Each team must develop a schedule and proposal for construction, submit estimates of costs and quantities and give oral and written presentations to a panel of professionals from the construction management industry

The Winter Knights, Clarkson’s Snowmobile team, competed in last month’s Society of Automobile Engineers’ Clean Snowmobile Challenge in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The team incorporated a 600 cc four cylinder, four-cycle engine from a Suzuki motorcycle into their reengineered design. Out of the 17 teams that competed, Clarkson placed ninth. This was a strong showing for the team, considering that a faulty oil pump prematurely disabled the team’s primary competition snowmobile.

SPEED competitions scheduled for May include the Mini Baja in Virginia, Formula SAE in Michigan, Tour de Sol in Washington, D.C., and Odyssey of the Mind in Tennessee.

Clarkson University's SPEED program promotes multidisciplinary project-based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, fabrication, and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork and communication skills. SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award for its exceptional contribution to improving undergraduate engineering education.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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