Teamwork and perseverance: APSC 100/200 engineering students get innovative

Posted on June 23, 2020

APSC 200 launch competition goes online

The APSC course gives second-year engineering students a tangible opportunity to work constructively in teams to create solutions to open-ended, real world problems, using standard design methods and tools. For this year’s final launch competition, mechanical engineering students had the opportunity to design a parachute recovery system -- however, the global pandemic added an extra challenge for collaborative work. The two winning teams took problem-solving to the next level, with amazing video presentations that demonstrated true teamwork and creativity.

Students were tasked with designing a simple and safe recovery system, complete with a set of specific conditions. Typically, the final launch competition is held in-person, but with all students working remotely, teams were required to present their designs through video.

Using a combination of video footage, modeling software such as MatLab, and remote video conferencing software, the two winning teams were able to remotely put together insightful presentations to convey their project and strategy just as well as they would have been able to in person.

‘We were so impressed by these presentations,” says Associate Professor Heidi Ploeg. “They highlight all the best qualities in Queen’s engineers, including strong teamwork, critical thinking and innovative problem solving.”

You can view the winning submissions from mechanical engineering teams 07-A (Erik Wotten and Luke Ulsifer) online here and 20-A (Robert, Owen, Brandon, Ethan) of section 203 online here.

Mason Cup winners demonstrate exceptional teamwork

Manson Cup winners

First year engineers are given the opportunity to solve real-world engineering problems and collaborate with industry for the first time in module 3 of APSC 100 (Engineering Design and Practice). Each year the Mason Cup, in recognition of James L. Mason, Associate Dean from 1996 to 2008, is awarded to an APSC 100 group that stands out in terms of technical competence, teamwork, and communication skills. This year’s Mason Cup winner and runner-up were both able to produce exceptional projects, especially given the challenge of collaborating during a pandemic.

This year’s runner-up team was tasked with researching, modeling, and designing an alternative method of lithium extraction from pegmatite ores that can compete with current methods of lithium extraction from salt brines, for Dr. Christopher Pickles from the Mining Department, a specialist in pyrometallurgical research. Team 694A (Owen Borthwick, Cameron Ford, Asher Givertz-Szonyi, Angus MacRae, Aiden Kuhn) was able to effectively develop more advanced models than other teams and took the initiative to learn additional software to develop those models. Their project manager noted that “this team has been amazing to work with and I count myself lucky to have been their project manager

This year, the Mason Cup goes to Team 707H (Ben Baumgard, Andreas Haramis, Abigail Newton, Caleb Mulder, Neil Trainor, Emily Flynn) for their work developing a strategy for soil life detection for Queen’s Space Engineering Team (QSET). The team took the initiative to search for connections in the chemical engineering department in order to gain access to the Protein Function Discovery lab and run tests. Their nominating Project Manager wrote: “Since week 1, this highly efficient team has proved to be well organized, self-sufficient, and motivated throughout all phases of their project.”