Walker School of STEM Wins $10,000 NCEES Award

Design plans awarded by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

This summer Olivet Nazarene University’s Department of Engineering was one of seven universities awarded $10,000 by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) for the organization’s Engineering Education Award

Senior engineering students in the Walker School of STEM are divided into groups and required to do a design project throughout their senior year. The purpose of these projects is to offer relevant, real-world work experiences that are in alignment with the University’s mission of offering “Education With a Christian Purpose” while also adding value to the student learning process and contributing to community needs. 

Last summer, staff members of Logan Nazarene Campground in Hocking Hills, Ohio, contacted Olivet for help with campground improvements. Four Olivet students, including Hannah Taggart, Miles VanderKlok, Nathan Hart and Michael Hill, teamed up with associate professor Quentin S. Ragan as their faculty member to tackle the project. The team also worked closely with Rob Paugh as the campground lead an architect retained by Rob to design and prepare construction drawings for a new cabin on the campground. From September 2021 to May 2022, the team worked to develop a practical, cost-effective and sound structural plan for the cabin design.

“Before this I had never gone through the full process of designing a building and it was as rigorous and time consuming as one would expect,” Nathan reflected. “It incorporated so much from many classes all in one project. This helped me get a much better understanding of what I have learned before in classes and gave me more insight in how a building is designed and constructed.”

The purpose of the senior design course is to give students a smooth transition from understanding theory and knowledge to applying those concepts to actual projects and challenges. Students receive guidance from faculty mentors, but are largely responsible for the planning, preparation, execution and analysis of the projects.

“I liked the responsibility we got to share and managing our own project,” said Hannah. “We did it with a lot of help and direction, but it gave us a chance to dig into the material more and connect a lot of dots in what we had been learning for a few years.”

At the beginning of the project, the team was given various constraints for the scope of the design, including size parameters, ADA compliance, capacity restraints, and plumbing needs. From that point, students worked to create a design that took all of those ideas into consideration and ultimately presented the campground with a viable design, which was approved by Rob Paugh and the campground oversight committee.

“Even though the project was small in scale, the project was comprehensive in scope,” said Professor Ragan. “The students were required to consider multiple aspects of engineering, such as structural, mechanical, electrical, and geotechnical. Architectural considerations were also required. This comprehensive scope required the students to not only work on a particular aspect of engineering but also how a particular aspect fits with the overall project requirements.”

Not every senior design project in the course results in an award-winning venture. However, this spring, following approval from the campground and Olivet faculty, the team submitted the completed cabin design for Logan Nazarene Campground to NCEES to be considered for the Engineering Education Award. In June, the team was informed that they received an award of $10,000 which will be used in the Department of Engineering at Olivet.

For more information about the Department of Engineering and the Walker School of STEM, contact the Office of Admissions, at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Published 6/24/2022
LB