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Electronics Engineering Technology students win Honourable Mention in international design contest

In a competition that attracted professional engineers and software designers from 60 different countries, a two-person student team from Camosun was awarded Honourable Mention. To earn their place in the Top 20 category, Justin Curran and Catherine Woodward developed customized software that will run the motor controls for an electric motorcycle.

Photo: Testing the software Photo: Testing circuitry Photo: Circuitry Photo: Motorcycle

The DesignStellaris 2010 competition was sponsored by Texas Instruments. Contestants were challenged to design a unique application using a Stellaris microcontroller, using commercially available components. This technology is similar to what is used in smart phones and other electronic devices.

“To receive honourable mention in an international competition of engineers is just amazing, and Justin and Catherine are two amazing individuals,” says Alan Duncan, program chair for Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology.  “This is the kind of project that a large team would normally be assigned to build, but these two Camosun students took it on by themselves and did a very impressive job in a very short time.”

Curran and Woodward invested more than 850 hours of their time over 11 weeks. “I learned a lot about how much time is really required to take an idea from a whiteboard drawing to reality,” says Curran.  “When it comes to the implementation phase of the project, there are a lot of ‘gotchas’ - many minute details that seem small and insignificant can potentially grind the project to a stand still.” '

Education that works

Photo: Justin Curran and Catherine WoodwardCurran and Woodward graduated in June, 2010 with a diploma in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology – Renewable Energy. As students, they both made it to the Dean’s Honour Roll, and both took advantage of the co-operative education option to gain nine months of relevant, paid work experience.

Woodward’s co-op terms were with the Department of National Defence (DND) which led to permanent employment as soon as she graduated. Woodward is now the assistant electrical controls officer at DND’s fleet maintenance facility. “I really enjoy working in the marine systems engineering section,” says Woodward. “It’s professionally satisfying to see how the work I do contributes to the maintenance of integral systems such as steering, propulsion, lighting, fire detection, combat equipment and damage control.” 

And education that continues

Curran also spent two co-op terms at DND and another with the Canadian Coast Guard. Once he graduated, Curran decided to put off employment for the time being in order to continue his education. He is now enrolled in Camosun’s six-month Engineering Bridge program, which will allow him to step into third year studies at the University of Victoria and complete his engineering degree. “Once that’s done, I’m thinking about getting a master’s degree,” says Curran. “But I also know that if I want to work first, there will be good employment opportunities. That’s one of the really great things about my Camosun education – I now have choices.”

Last updated: November 4, 2010 12:09 pm

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