A newsletter for alumni, students, and friends of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Student News

MAAD robot team

The Pi Tau Sigma team called MAAD Engineering took first place in Expo '99 robot team soccer. Dave Branson, Andy Ausman, Mike DeCicco, and Aaron Lynn show off their winning robot which holds the soccer ball with its unique vacuum suction device that closely resembles a toilet plunger. (48K JPG)

ME student teams took home first and second prizes in Expo `99's robot competition, "Robomania." The first place prize of $2,000 in soccer-style Roboball went to a team called MAAD Engineering whose members were Aaron Lynn, Dave Branson, Andy Ausman, and Mike DeCicco. Their 59-pound remote-controlled robot also won second place in the People's Choice voting and fifth place in the aesthetics category. The students developed the robot for a Senior Design class project. A unique feature of their design was a front-mounted vacuum suction cup (made from a bathroom plunger) that could be activated to clasp the ball.
ASME robot team

The ASME team won second place in Roboball competition in Expo '99. Here Dave Hwang, Jason Fuhr, Vicki Bassett, and Kristin Shuda prepare their robot for first round competion in the ME Building lobby. (50K JPG)

Second place prize money of $1,500 in Roboball went to the ASME team of David Hwang, Vicki Bassett, Kristin Shuda, and Jason Fuhr. Their robot was outfitted with a swing arm that could be positioned to pull the soccer ball away from obstacles. This team also won first place in People's Choice and first place in aesthetics. ME senior Jake Myre won third place in People's Choice and fourth in aesthetics.

The Link Foundation has selected ME graduate student Robert Braun to receive a $20,000 energy fellowship. Braun's research is entitled "Fuel Cell Energy Systems for the Future: Optimal Design and Operation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems for Distributed Generation." Professor Sanford A. Klein is Braun's advisor.

Sean Weitner, ME senior, won the 1999 Steuber Prize for Excellence in Writing for his paper, "Doomed to Success." The piece chronicles the collapse of California's St. Francis Dam in 1928. The prize is worth $5,000. Tying for third place was Tanya Kosmo, ME junior, for her paper, "Lucid Dreams." Vicki Bassett, ME senior, won honorable mention for "Causes and Effects of the Rapid Sinking of the Titanic."

Pi Tau Sigma honor society took on a tutoring project this year, hiring six tutors to help students with required math, chemistry, physics, and engineering courses.

At the March 1999 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit, UW-Madison's chapter won third place out of 15 schools in the student booth competition, in their first effort there. SAE students attending were Neel Vasavada, Sebastian Strauss, Jason Bower, Mark Polster, John Butcher, Anton Kozlovski, Mike Koplin, Logan McKay, and Eric Hruby, representing Formula car, Baja, and FutureCar teams.

Thanks to the efforts of Dean John G. Bollinger, the ME Department has received three new undergraduate scholarships from Jan Verhagen, one of our distinguished alumni (BS'61). The scholarships include two for $3,500 each, and one for $12,000 which is for a Wisconsin resident who is also a minority.

The Student Quality Society received an honorable mention for their Teamwork Through Tinkertoys activity at Engineering Expo. Professor Donald S. Ermer is the faculty advisor.
Magic Bus riders

Student riders of the "Magic Bus" toasted their successful arrival in Pasadena after an adventurous odyssey from Madison to cheer the Badgers at the Rose Bowl. (44K JPG)

When 13 students left Madison on December 26 bound for the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California, they didn't know just how handy it would be that most of them were ME majors. But after the vintage "Magic Bus" broke down before passing the Madison city limits, that advantage became abundantly clear.

By the end of the students' 15-day round trip, they had experienced mechanical breakdowns on an almost daily basis and sometimes several times a day.

Besides learning how to apply their automotive skills, the group saw scenic stretches of the U.S. and made a short visit to Mexico. They panned for gold in Arizona, and made friends with the California Highway Patrol on the way to the big game. While the bus was parked in the RV lot near the Rose Bowl stadium, the student group gained all sorts of attention from other UW fans and a Madison newspaper reporter who wrote a front page story about them. After celebrating a Badger victory with a hometown kind of crowd in Pasadena, the bus tour coasted into Las Vegas with a broken drive shaft, and after repairs and amusements, continued on to the Grand Canyon. Some riders hiked to the bottom of the canyon and returned the next day. A visit to Mesa Verde cliff houses followed, and then they held their breaths while the bus chugged over mountain passes in Colorado before the final push back to Madison.

ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.

ME Newsletter
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

      Editor: Gail Gawenda

Designer: Lynda Litzkow

Last Modified: Wednesday, 07-Jul-1999 17:00:00 CDT

SPRING 1999 Contents