Engineering seniors begin capstone projects

Posted on February 23, 2022 by Abby May

Engineering Week is the perfect time to show off Sweet Briar’s senior engineering students. They broke out into two groups and have been hard at work on their final capstone projects. While it’s still early on in the building and research process, the two groups are well underway with preliminary concepts. 

The first group — Sophia Keniston, Elisa Garcia, Sarah Solis and Zelda Vasquez Ramirez — are working on an advanced timing system for Lynchburg’s Remote Control Drag Racing group. The drag racing group was interested in getting a timing system that can dictate different types or readings, such as when cars jump the gun, or a system that can tell when someone has won the race. They began working on a prototype during the fall semester and are now perfecting the final product.

Engineering seniors Zelda Vasquez-Ramirez, Sarah Solis, Sophia Keniston and Elisa Garcia work on a new drag racing timing system

Sophia is the team leader; Elisa is the master of code and works on various iterations; Sarah works on research development and sources different components; Zelda is head of communicating with the Lynchburg group and any other outside groups that get involved. They said so far, the most interesting thing they have learned is how to select the proper material that will hold the correct circuitry in the device and utilizing the correct math.

Elizabeth Martin, Rose Murphy and Iris Williams comprise the second group. They are keeping their project with the Sweet Briar community by partnering with the sustainability program and Prof. Lisa Powell, who has asked them to build a more sustainable, solar powered golf cart. The purpose of the project is to help transport produce from the greenhouse to the Prothro Dining Hall. A truck is currently used to transport produce and by switching to a solar powered golf cart, they can reduce their carbon footprint and be a bit more sustainable.

Engineering seniors Iris Williams, Rose Murphy and Liz Martin with their future solar powered golf cart

The team of three is mostly tag-teaming the whole project. Rose took charge of the main design of their project, but the whole team works together on the design, and everyone takes on a leadership role. The trio noted that solar panels have been very interesting to work with but can be tricky to install correctly. They have also been navigating how to select the right items needed for their cart, which is what they’re doing currently.

We will check back in with these creative and resourceful engineers at the end of the semester to see their final products, which we know will be a great success not only for them but for their community partners and clients.