By Michael N. Ard, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), hosted a Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning in Naval Engineering and Science (PIPELINES) event Aug. 12.
The event included final presentations and Design Challenge Awards, which culminated summer 2016's new workforce learning initiative, at the Bard Mansion, Naval Base Ventura County.
"I think what you're going to see today is a lot of great collaborative work and meaningful design that was done here," said NAVFAC EXWC Technical Director and Event Moderator, Kail Macias. "I'll just tell you, eight weeks to come up with a design is extremely difficult, but these students did it and they did a great job. All of them are a success regardless of who wins."
Five student teams spent eight weeks of summer with EXWC and UCSB mentors working on five engineering Design Challenges, part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program. The teams of 3-4 students enrolled in UCSB and local community colleges were assigned a project and given freedom to develop unique solutions for real-world situations.
"I'm really glad all the parents are here; I want to share the fact that I was just like your students many years ago," said Macias. "I was a community college student at Ventura Community College and didn't really know what I wanted to do. When I got my first opportunity to get a job here with the Navy as an intern, I really got a quick understanding of what I was going to get to do, and the importance of sometimes struggling through differential equations and electrical engineering. I got to see how I'd get to apply it. That's what kept me here for 30 years -- not just the great working relationships, but giving back to the Navy and the warfighter is amazing. It's all about the mission."
The five PIPELINES Design Challenge projects were Super, Containerized Living Units (CLUs) cleaning system, develop a prototype solar panel cleaning system for Super CLUs in Djibouti, Africa; corrosion resistant reinforced concrete in marine environments, identified methods to combat the leading cause of reinforced concrete failure, deterioration due to corrosion of the internal rebar, by exploring different compositions of concrete and their corrosion resistant properties in an effort to increase its service life in marine environments; Renewable Energy Integration Tool (REIT), develop a tool to estimate the amount of renewable energy that can be integrated into an existing infrastructure without further engineering; small buoy tether project, U.S. Navy communication interfaces are becoming increasingly more important with a growing demand for buoys capable of communicating with the sea floor, develop and evaluate new concepts for tethering electro-optical cables attached from the small buoys to the sea floor; and Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo (LARC) vehicle project, develop a working model by researching issues with the current ingress/egress system of the LARC vehicle and develop a new ladder system.
Each project was briefed by a mentor who gave the project background before introducing the student team who presented their Design Challenge solution to the judges and audience.
"Let's talk about what the military does; we're truly the recipients of all the awesome work civilians are doing out there," said NAVFAC EXWC Deputy Ocean Facilities Program Manager, Cmdr. Li Sung, introducing the small buoy tether project. "Thank you to all the friends and family, the mentors and educators who have brought such talented individuals to our doorstep, and allowing them to integrate with us for the last eight weeks. We gave them a real tough problem, they analyzed it, came up with a design solution, a proof of concept, a prototype and maybe a little seasickness along the way, but that's the ocean's experience."
All five teams showcased their projects by PowerPoint presentation to a panel of three judges representing EXWC, UCSB and Ventura Community College. The projects were scored on three aspects -- technical level or challenge of the project; readiness level, wheter an idea, paper sketch, mock-up, functional prototype or ready-to-scale up; and the clarity and persuasiveness of the presentation.
"I can tell you the judges had a huge challenge, [and] at the end it came down to two projects," said Macias. "I made an executive decision and we're having two winners this year. I wish we could have five first place winners, but unfortunately we can't. But again, each of the projects were winners in my mind in terms of what the students learned -- the interaction that they had with the project mentors, the EXWC senior leadership and the UCSB faculty."
The PIPELINES Summer 2016 Design Challenge Award winners announced were the LARC vehicle project, and the Super CLU cleaning system.
Members of the LARC vehicle project were EXWC, LARC-V A1/A2 Lead Platform Specialist and mentor, Jean Paul Ortuno; UCSB mentor Marcela Areyano; and student interns Corey Stein and Kevin Hurtado. Their team researched the issues with the current ingress and egress systems of the LARC vehicle to develop a new ladder system.
Mentors for the Super CLU cleaning system were EXWC, Super CLU Project Manager, David Chavez and UCSB mentor, Jaclyn Avallone. The student interns were Nick Hardy, Kaela Marie Malaki, Amrita Duggal and Peter Moschetti. This team, in support of NetZero goals, developed a new method to minimize dust-induced efficiency loss in solar panels that provide power to CLUs used by forces in Djibouti, Africa.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank the mentors, both the mentors at UCSB and at the Navy, and the judges; without you this wouldn't be possible," said UCSB Program Manager, Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CESP) California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) Mariateresa Napoli. "Take this as a first step in your career and build off this experience. Think of what you want to do later and make this your launching point towards your career goals."