A group of mechanical engineering students at MSU took home the gold at this year’s Student Sustainability Design Hack Challenge at the 2023 Siemens Realize Live Conference in Las Vegas.

A group of mechanical engineering students at Michigan State University took home the gold at this years Student Sustainability Design Hack Challenge at the 2023 Siemens Realize Live Conference in Las Vegas.

The students were challenged to solve an existing design failure on a cutting-edge electric vehicle created by a customer of Siemens, Kyburz Switzerland.

Katherine Stevenson, senior academic teaching specialist in mechanical engineering at MSU, helped lead the team to their recent victory after presenting a group of her students with the opportunity through the elective engineering class she teaches at the university.

As part of that class, those students had the skill set that I knew they would need for this competition. So, what I ended up doing is pitching the idea to the students and this group formed. The students applied for this contest and got selected to be participants, said Stevenson.

This years first place team included MSU engineering students Ava Boley, Ari Bozann and Jacob Rubino.

Bozann said that not only was it great to have the teams work validated, but for him, the win also felt like a lucky one.

“It felt incredibly lucky because our group put in a lot of work, the other groups put in a lot of work and everyone did so well in the competition, stated Bozann.

The contest included four teams from different universities, and the teams were given a 48-hour design challenge created by Kyburz Switzerland, a corporation that develops and produces high-quality electric vehicles.

This competition was a design challenge. Broadly speaking, we had to come up with a solution to the problem. The problem was that the car chassis of an electric car would break whenever it would hit a curb, so the challenge was to broadly come up with a general solution to that problem in a way that is sustainable,” Bozann said.

At the end of the competition, the winning group also had a unique opportunity to present their solution in front of the OEM Council, which included some of the worlds biggest corporations.

Not only did the winning team express how incredible this opportunity was, but each of them had a final message for the other students and to those that supported their journey throughout the competition.

“I just want to give a shout-out to Siemens and professor Stevenson for pushing us to get out there and take advantage of the opportunity that MSU provided, and I encourage other students to come out there,” Rubino said.

Boley shared a message for future engineering students.

“If you want a similar opportunity, dont be afraid to ask your professors about things because they might know about things that they might have forgotten about. So, the opportunities are there if you can get them, and you might get something really cool out of it like we did,” she said.

Furthermore, Bozann gave a special thank you to professor Stevenson for her unwavering support.

“I just want to give a huge shout-out to professor Stevenson because she really made sure that I was able to go out there. Originally, there were just supposed to be two people from each team going out there, but she talked to the those organizing the event and raked through budget surpluses to make sure all three of us could participate,” Bozann said.

Lastly, Siemens Empowers Education and Startups Leader Shannon O’Donnell not only connected all of the moving parts to host the event, but also made sure that the winners received networking opportunities and a virtual reality headset as a prize to take home.

All three MSU students are invited back to the conference next year with the opportunity to give back and assume the role as mentors for the 2024 round of competitors.

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