Lassonde School of Engineering students showcase their end-of-year capstone projects

Lassonde School of Engineering students took over the hallways of the Life Sciences Building on the Keele Campus to showcase their hard work and ingenuity as part of their end-of-year capstone and design projects at Lassonde Exhibit ‘19.

A student team at the Lassonde School of Engineering capstone event strikes a pose

The annual event, which took place on April 26, focused on four broad engineering themes: mobility, energy, sensors and systems, and agile software. Each student team also participated in presentations and panel discussions throughout the day, which concluded with an awards ceremony.

This year’s exhibit was expanded to include a digital media display and silent art auction.

Silent auction artist and student Afifa Bari

“The Lassonde exhibit is a culmination of our students’ capstone projects and design-focused learning throughout the past year,” said Lassonde Professor Franz Newland, one of the event organizers. “Our annual Lassonde exhibits provide a unique opportunity for students to share their knowledge, for us to discover and share the potential of our students and develop relationships that we hope will lead to future collaboration and joint ventures.”

A capstone course is a final-year course that consolidates everything a student has learned in his or her major during undergraduate studies and generally involves a project that draws on the skills and knowledge they have already gained, while also acquiring new skills and knowledge in the process.

Franz Newland

Several student teams were eager to share their projects and reflected on their positive learning experiences and capstone journeys.

For example, one group of students constructed a sustainable health centre and multi-use building model for their project.

“Our civil engineering course required our group to apply all the knowledge from the past four years and turn it into something tangible,” explained student Debora Perez Avila. “It allowed us to transition from classroom lessons and theories to a real-life application. It has given us the confidence we need to navigate civil engineering careers as new graduates.”

Ellen van Wijngaarden similarly expressed how a hands-on approach for her group design project, a mini-design car, made the learning experience much more meaningful.

Ellen van Wijngaarden (left) and Jason Abar (right)

“The modelling, design and machining skills gained through our project felt useful and applicable as we had a tangible result to demonstrate what we had learned experientially,” she said.

“The main feature of our project is the modular spring-powered battery that allows the user to conveniently power the car and release it when desired,” added her group partner Jason Abar. “The car was streamlined as we learned about the design process through the course and added improvements such as bearings and changeable gear ratios.”

Pictured, from left: Professor Pulin Mondal with students Hiba Haddad, Wajeh Abdalnou and Debora Perez Avila

True to the project-based learning approach, students Mckeen Yousif, Syed Husain, Marta Girina and Jordan Santorsola came up with a solution to help ease traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area by redeveloping existing infrastructure to accommodate the new 407 Transitway, a project that also garnered them the Technology Stewardship Award.

Pictured, from left: Mckeen Yousif, Syed Husain, Marta Girina and Jordan Santorsola

“Our group took this opportunity to completely redesign the Richmond Hill Centre Station into a multimodal infrastructure that interconnects multiple modes of transportation in one convenient location,” said Santorsola.

“Unlike traditional courses, the project course format allowed us to closely follow a project from start to finish, conception to completion,” he added. “Because of this, students were given the unique opportunity to brainstorm, problem solve, apply their undergraduate knowledge and work effectively in a team setting that closely models a real-world work environment. The feeling of designing something from start to finish and then presenting it to others is something truly special.”

Lassonde students showcase their human-powered vehicle at the capstone event

“Students who have experienced capstone and other project courses have a much better reflection of their education experience,” said Newland. “I think today’s event is demonstrated proof of that.”

Story and photographs by Ken Turriff, communications manager, Office of the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning