DETROIT — University of Detroit Mercy hosted about 200 high school students from southeast Michigan and northern Ohio Friday for its second annual Student Research Symposium.
More than 60 student and faculty engineering and science projects were on display at the Engineering Building’s High Bay room on the UDM campus.
Most popular with the younger crowd at the event were several smart vehicles, including one trained to follow body heat and another trained to follow a green light. Utayba Mohammad, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UDM, said that while having fun with cool robots, students are also conducting research in navigation and pathfinding that will be critical in future generations of autonomous vehicles.
Gary Kuleck, dean of UDM’s College of Engineering and Science, said the 1920s-vintage Engineering Building is about to undergo a transformation, as an aging set of automotive labs becomes the Center for Automotive Systems Engineering Education.
“We have this old auto lab and we’re looking to transform it into a place where we can introduce systems engineering concepts to students,” Kuleck said. “Our niche will be to train our students so that when they walk out of here, they have strong knowledge in systems engineering and project engineering… electrical, mechanical and robotics engineers will all work together.”
Thursday night, UDM hosted more than 100 alumni who are now automotive industry leaders to get their ideas on the programs the new center, CASEE for short, should offer.
Kuleck said the center would also have a strong outreach program to area high schools, letting them participate in college-level events.
The reason for inviting the high schools is obvious — attracting future UDM students, but also in general, inspiring high school students to choose STEM careers by having them interact with the undergraduate presenters and hear about the joys of learning through discovery and creation.
For more information, visit the Engineering & Science Student Research Symposium website.