UA engineering students work with GE, Continental Automotive in Mexico

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Noelle Haro-Gomez/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior engineering students meet to discuss their capstone group project; from the left David Galindo, Sergio Landeros, Marcus Dimarco; Miranda Mazanek, Todd Austin and Carlos Bustamante. The engineering group is being sponsored by General Electric and will present their final project on April 30.

For the first time, UA engineering students have been working with companies in Mexico to complete their senior projects.

Two groups of six engineering students each have teamed up with General Electric Co. and Continental Automotive Systems in Nogales, Mexico, to complete their senior capstone projects while working alongside professionals in their prospective career fields to solve real-life engineering problems. Their projects will be
presented at the UA Senior Design Fair on April 30.

“In this program, we force our students to brainstorm, to be creative, to think outside the box and then to flesh out their designs to real things,” said Ara Arabyan, associate professor of engineering and director of the Engineering Clinic in the College of Engineering.

Arabyan is also the director of the senior design team project. This is the first year engineering students have had projects sponsored by GE and Continental, he explained. Furthermore, this year is the first that students have been able to work with companies in Mexico for their senior capstone projects.

“Their hope is to recruit some of the students that work there,” Arabyan said.

The team of students working with GE has been analyzing the noise produced by electric transformers. Their task has been to design a system that will reduce that noise.

The students have already done extensive analysis and have written a 90-page report about their findings, according to Miranda Mazanek, an electrical engineering senior. The first semester was mostly design work and analysis, while the second semester deals more with design.

Mazanek and her team have taken three trips to Nogales, Mexico, to work with GE on their project.

“It’s very cool to see the process, and the manufacturing aspect as well,” Mazaneks said. “Our sponsors respect us as engineers. They want our project to work. They want to use it.”

The GE team will have a prototype and demonstration of its design by the end of the semester.

Sergio Landeros, an electro-optical engineering senior, is also working with GE to produce a prototype system that will reduce the sound transformers make.

“I was in charge of doing sound analysis,” Landeros said. “It was pretty cool showing myself that it’s not just about what you learn, but what you can do with what you learn.”

Landeros explained that as an electro-optical major, working with GE did not have a lot to do with his studies. However, he said that working on this project has helped him become more open-minded.

“It’s helped me get out of my shell and out of my comfort zone,” Landeros said. “I think it’s helped me be a better student and, professionally, a better employee.”

Justin Dutram, UA coordinator of academic outreach in Santa Cruz County, has helped identify opportunities for UA students and put them in touch with people in Santa Cruz County, like in the projects at GE and Continental.

“There is such an important presence in the manufacturing sector so close to Tucson. If we look further south, there are very large automotive and aerospace firms as well,” Dutram said. “We would like to continue to develop the relationships with these companies.”

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