Mechanical engineering rides off with grand prize at 2023 Senior Design Symposium

On Friday, April 28, LU College of Engineering hosted the annual Senior Design Symposium. Graduating seniors presented their final capstone projects, representing the culmination of a year of work, to industry judges.  

 “Senior Design helped us become better communicators. This is a career skill that we can use forever,” said 'Tyler County Airport Runway Expansion' member, Mason Wyche. “We had to communicate with the Tyler County office and contractors, as if it were a real project. Senior Design is a great opportunity to learn and grow your skillset for the real world.” 

This year, a total of 35 teams from Civil and Environmental, Chemical, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering competed to win a chance to become the grand champion. Teams ranged in sizes from 3 to 14 members.  Senior Design 3

"Winning a big project as a team filled me with a sense of accomplishment and joy,” said 'The Benchwarmer' member, Bailey Beard. “We felt a great sense of pride in the project we worked on, as it required extensive research, planning, and collaboration with the team to accomplish our goals. Working on this project has not only allowed us to contribute to a valuable endeavor, but it has also equipped us with new skill sets that I can leverage in my future career, providing me with a competitive advantage in the job market." 

Department winners included 'The Benchwarmers' for chemical and biomolecular engineering, 'Weather Data to Autonomous Drone via RF' for electrical engineering, 'Impeller Casting' for industrial engineering, 'Tyler County Airport Runway Expansion' for civil and environmental engineering, and interdisciplinary team, 'Bahama Mamas Baja Team.' 'RUST-EEZE' claimed the winning slot for mechanical engineering department winner and the grand champion of the 2023 Senior Design Symposium. 

“We began working on the design of our project in August 2022 and started implementing the whole system around March of this year,” said 'Weather Data to Autonomous Drone via RF' member, Emma Breaux. “It was an amazing feeling to get our drone to fly autonomously and the first time the whole project worked successfully, we all sighed in relief. SeniorDesign has been both challenging and rewarding. I am grateful for the skills I have learned throughout the process. Although I am happy that the stress of deadlines and the uncertainty of our project's success is over, it is bittersweet to know that my time here at Lamar University is coming to an end.” 

While there could be only one symposium winner, judges from ExxonMobil had difficulty in choosing. The returning judges ultimately chose project 'RUST-EEZE', a stirling engine powered go-kart that the students affectionately named, 'Striking McQueen'. 

“Throughout the year, if we had a class together, we stuck with our Senior Design team. This made working on our project much easier and we really got to know each other,” said 'RUST-EEZE' and Senior Design Symposium winning member, Grafton Conger. “This made winning the Senior Design Symposium so much better than it already was! Knowing that we made it through tough challenges in our project and seeing it all payoff together was amazing! My heart was pounding whenever they called our name as the overall winners! Through Senior Design, I was able to get a lot of hands-on experience that I haven't been able to get from my other classes. I will be able to apply my experience to my future projects in the workforce!” 

The Senior Design Symposium would not be possible without our industry partners, including ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Cheniere Energy, Valero Energy, Westrock and many other donors and volunteers for mentoring and sponsoring our students.  

To learn more about the College of Engineering, visit