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Electrical engineering students take top honors in national competitions

Nine senior and two junior electrical engineering majors at Lamar University received top honors in a recent competition in Denver, sponsored by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology.

Lamar’s student teams from the Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering competed against teams from 12 states including more than 100 colleges and universities. Of the four competitions Lamar’s students entered, they won first place in two, and second place in another.

Bryan Deagle, a senior from Lumberton, took first place in the student paper competition. Deagle researched current techniques used to detect and remove ocular artifacts from electroencephalograms, a graphic record of the electrical activity of the brain.

“It was an honor just to go to Denver to compete with so many bright engineers from prestigious universities from across the country,” Deagle said. “I think it was the combination of the research topic, and the strong presentation skills learned at Lamar that won me first place.”

Deagle’s award is the fifth time a LU engineering student has won first place in this competition since 1972.

Juniors Jason Cox, of Beaumont, and Aaron Crawford, of Buna, took first place in the student ethics competition, for Lamar’s first participation. Teams were required to present a case about real life situations of questionable ethical decisions to a panel of seven engineers. They then were required to defend their analysis answering questions from the panel.

Team CREWD, composed of seniors Alan Cleveland, of Missouri City; Phillip Huff, of Beaumont; Chase Patten, of Port Arthur; and Stanley Richardson-Whyte, of Missouri City; took second place in the annual Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies Student Design Contest. This year’s event challenged students to design a lightweight and portable robotic device for removal and replacement of residential kilowatt-hour meters to help mitigate the danger of potential arc flash.

Team SERFF, composed of seniors Tyler Rogers and Johnson Royer, both of Beaumont; David Stone, of Silsbee; and Spencer Wigginton, of Lumberton; finished in fifth place in the robotics competition. The aim of this year's contest was to help determine the level of human intervention needed for the re-vegetation of a forest after a wildfire. Each team was required to design and build a fully autonomous robot capable of navigating a simulated forest to collect soil samples.

All the awards were presented at the IEEE Region 5 conference April 6. The region covers all or parts of 12 states.

In other competitions, seniors James Blackshear, of Warren, and Derik Kilmer, of Vidor, won the technical poster and technical presentation award at the 2013 Trinity College Fire Fighting Robotics contest held April 6 in Hartford, Conn.

Forming the EE team, Blackshear and Kilmer were responsible for the design of robots that can assist the needs of a fireman in real-world situations.

Joseph Hancock, of Beaumont, and Kelvin Lai, of Houston, won honorable mention in the top overall team award at the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge held April 15 in League City.

The team’s project was to design and demonstrate an adaptive lighting controller that monitors the output light of an LED light source for degradation of light intensity and/or color intensity changes for specific application to future spacecraft conducting deep space missions.