The 38th Annual Southeastern Consortium for Minorities In Engineering (SECME) Summer Institute concluded on Friday with a day of tours and demonstrations at the School of Engineering.
SOE faculty and student volunteers explained the many opportunities available to students in the various engineering disciplines taught at UAB.
“For many of these students, this is the first time they’ve been able to set foot on a college campus and see the opportunities that a university offers its students,” said Michele Williams, interim executive director of SECME, Inc. “That’s one of the real values of this week, to allow them to see firsthand what they can experience as a student at a place like the UAB School of Engineering.”
More than 100 middle and high school students from across the nation participated in the event, which covered three days of workshops, tours, and competitions.
Student participants earned their way into to the UAB event by winning local or regional events. The result was some high-level competition on Thursday when they put their pitted their engineering skills against one another in competitions involving robotics and mousetrap cars.
(Story continues beneath the slideshow. Photos by Tyler Harris.)
This month, the School of Engineering is hosting the 38th Annual Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME) Summer Institute and sponsor the SECME National Student Engineering Competition Finals, in partnership with the UAB Office for Equity and Diversity.
SECME is a professional development institute dedicated to focusing on equity in science, technology, engineering and math initiatives by bringing together K-12 educators, university faculty, and industry and government representatives to share the best in their fields of expertise. Students are able to be involved in the institute through participation in the engineering competition finals.
This year's SECME Summer Institute will begin June 22 with about 120 K-12 educators from around the nation who will reside on campus for a week of professional development workshops in STEM to enhance student achievement and interest in these subjects.
"The goal of the week's events will be to help promote inclusion in learning in STEM fields, and that is something we value at UAB," said Hassan Moore, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and outreach director for the School of Engineering. "We look forward to hosting these important discussions and learning from experts from across the nation."
Mechatronics and the Future of the Auto Industry
By Todd Dills
(This article originally appeared in UAB Magazine.)
Alabama has become an unlikely leader in the automotive industry, with manufacturing plants from Mercedes, Honda, and Hyundai producing the latest SUVs, minivans, and sedans. Meanwhile, at the UAB School of Engineering, Vladimir Vantsevich, Ph.D., Sc.D., and his students are working on the next generation of vehicles.
Vantsevich is the leading specialist worldwide in the dynamics, energy efficiency, and mobility of both conventional and unmanned multi-wheel drive vehicles. His work is based in an engineering discipline called mechatronics, a combination of electronic and mechanical systems that he describes as “a technology, a philosophy, and a science” all rolled into one. The automotive industry is a primary adopter of mechatronic systems, Vantsevich explains. Electronically controlled braking systems are one example; another is adaptive cruise control, which deploys radar and electronic controls to automatically adjust vehicle speed in order to maintain a safe following distance.
But these high-tech devices come at a cost. “The average car today has about two kilometers of wires” inside and may have up to five computers, Vantsevich says. That adds more than 60 pounds, “and you have to burn more fuel to carry that weight.”
More than 300 people attended the third annual Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium on Thursday, hearing from a wide range of speakers about the latest in urban sustainability and development.
This year's symposium, presented by the UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center, featured an international panel of speakers, including keynote speaker Barbara McCann, director of the Office of Safety, Energy & Environment for the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. In her address on "Complete Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks," McCann explained how a sustained commitment can lead to safer neighborhoods and improved opportunities for economic development. "It is a simple commitment in the beginning, but it can be much harder to actually implement those plans and sustain progress," McCann said. "But when you get that broad commitment on various levels, these communities will begin to transform, and they begin to measure success in different ways."
The symposium began with welcomes from UAB Provost Linda Lucas, Ph.D. and Birmingham Mayor William Bell. "I am proud of the fact that the city of Birmingham is taking an active role in this process to work with you to come up with best practices to improve our quality of life," said Bell. "It makes no difference how much research you do unless you can apply it to practical, everyday living. It is my responsibility to take the research you come up with and integrate it seamlessly into the planning arena within the city so you will have sustainable projects going on every day."