Students charged up for opportunity

Professor's relationship with national association creates professional opportunity and scholarship support for Kettering students

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In Mark Thompson's view, projects that are multidisciplinary in nature tend to offer students a greater chance to apply concepts learned in the classroom to a collaborative endeavor that provides breadth and depth to a practical experience. Such projects require students to specialize and work together in a team effort, which exemplify the environment in which many of them will work following graduation from Kettering University.

This was the case with Thompson's fall 2001 EE-490 Electrical Engineering Senior Design Project class, which required students to design a project that adheres to applicable engineering standards while addressing other relevant issues such as health, safety, economic, environmental, sustainability, ethical, social and political concerns.

Recently, Thompson helped a group of students research, write and present a paper based on a project undertaken for his fall 2001 class. The students were Erik Badgley, Vincent Dean, Jason McCoy, Ryan Piechowski, Michelle Pomeroy, Adam Sepanak and Quintine Stewart.

This group chose to design an add-on kit to convert a standard 26-inch bicycle to electrical assisted propulsion. The main design objectives of this project focused on functionality, safety, reliability, durability, efficiency, ergonomics, aesthetics and cost.

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"We tested this bike at the end of the term in the University's recreation center," Thompson explained. "The bicycle performed very well. It had good acceleration with riders of all sizes, a top cruising speed of 13 miles per hour and an unassisted range of 15 miles."

The results of this project prompted Thompson to encourage students to submit their paper to the Electrical Manufacturing & Coil Winding Association (EMCWA) Exposition in Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 14-17 of this year. Additionally, this submission helped further cement a long-standing relationship between Kettering and EMCWA, which was initially established by Thompson seven years ago. At that time, he met the executive director of the association at an electric vehicle competition in Phoenix, Ariz., where the Kettering Formula Lightning team was participating.

At this Phoenix event, Thompson, who was then co-adviser for the Lightning team, struck up a conversation with the executive director and learned about the association's scholarship program for select colleges and universities.

"I made a considerable effort over the next few years to promote Kettering to the EMCWA Education Committee. Pat Winton '61, who is president of Globe Products Inc. in Dayton, Ohio, sits on the committee and was a tremendous help in getting Kettering on the list of scholarship recipients."

Today, the EMCWA awards Kettering an $18,000 grant for scholarships and equipment each year, a sum that comes from proceeds generated from the association's annual exposition. More importantly, Kettering students participate just about each year in the annual exposition by presenting papers, attending sessions and setting up displays for the Formula Lightning team. This year, Thompson's students received support to attend the exposition and present the results of their project to a national audience.

"The students were excited and a bit nervous," he said. "But it's such a good opportunity for them to participate in this nationally recognized exposition. And I'm pleased that we can provide this kind of opportunity to the students, since they work so hard on their projects."

Kettering's EMCWA $18,000 grant is split into approximately five $3,000 scholarships per academic year plus $2,000 for equipment. Students who wish to apply for these awards must major in engineering, technology or the sciences related to the electrical manufacturing industry and display traits of scholarship, extracurricular and professional activity, leadership and interest in the electrical products industry as a career objective.

Students may receive application materials from Professor Mark Thompson of Kettering's Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. by calling (810) 762-7978, or via e-mail at

The Electrical Manufacturing and Coil Winding Association is a non-profit voluntary organization dedicated to furthering the conception, research, design, manufacturing, marketing and use of electrical products. The association provides an array of educational opportunities that enhance the development, knowledge and use of electrical technology and products. For additional information on the EMCWA, visit the website at

Written by Gary J. Erwin
(810) 762-9538