Every semester, FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing hosts the Senior Design Showcase, which serves as a pivotal moment for graduating engineering and computing students to showcase their designs, inventions and solutions to real-world problems. Nearly 500 seniors present their projects to family, friends, mentors and industry professionals.
FIU News talked to four senior design teams about their experiences at the fall 2019 Senior Design Showcase. In the Q&A below, learn how the showcase proved to be a highlight in their academic careers at FIU.
- Infant Food Frequency Questionnaire: Daykel Muro Sardinas and Dariana Gonzalez from the School of Computing & Information Sciences
- CRETE Construction Group: Carina Cortes, Daniel Lopez and Ariel Caballero from Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and Sustainability
- IMPro: Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain: Carlos A. Roche, Monica Karas, Manuel Vazquez and Sepehr Soroushiami from the Department of Biomedical Engineering
- MIA-Trans Engineering: Patricia Quintela, Yoan Barredo, Favian Calleja, Jorge Montesino, Luis Morgado, Daniela Perez and Jean Rodriguez from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
What is your project about? What impact does it have in the real world?
Carlos A. Roche (IMPro: Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain): IMPro is a cost-effective solution that allows patients to visit physicians without fear of pain when receiving injections. Current modalities require physicians to use both hands to administer injections because, at times, patients fail to remain still when being injected and this can result in localized tissue damage. IMPro mechanically stimulates the target area with vibrations to reduce the number of pain signals reaching the brain. With the IMPro, patients from all over the world will be able to change their perspective on injections from relating them to negative experiences into seeing their medical benefit.
Carina Cortes (CRETE Construction Group): We developed a management plan to complete a construction project safely, on-time and in a cost-efficient manner. The construction project itself is building high-end condos with a private marina in Hollywood, Florida, within an 18-month duration. We proposed an estimate to produce the project.
Dariana Gonzalez (Infant Food Frequency Questionnaire): Infant food frequency questionnaire is a tool for clinicians and pediatricians to generate recommendations regarding the nutrient intake of infants, based on the parents’ responses in the questionnaire. The project was started by another senior design team from the previous semester and we were able to put more ideas and do more stuff in this version. It is a touching project because it is very important at that stage in life that the child’s nutrition is specifically accurate and parents/guardians are feeding them exactly what they need to remain healthy.
Patricia Quintela(MIA-Trans Engineering): The purpose of our project is to analyze and research how we can improve a certain area in Miami-Dade county. We were tasked with looking at the area between Northwest 119th street and north of Little River Drive. We went out to the field and took a look at some of the issues that were going on, such as drainage inlets and cracks in the pavement. We then started designing a plan on how to improve the roadway. By the end of the project we had designed three lanes in each direction, a dual left-turn lane, street parking, bicycle lanes, travel lanes and we added a median in the street to prevent angle crashes because of the reports made of crashes during left or angle turns.
What has proved to be the most challenging part of this project for you or your team members as a whole?
Carlos A. Roche (IMPro: Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain): The scheduling for the team was one of the most complicated parts of the project. Every member of the team is involved in different campus organizations and have part-time jobs. Being able to allot time in order to meet and discuss the project was not easy. Also, ordering material for the device was challenging because it was a very specific material that took extended periods of time to ship.
How did your team overcome/handle any challenges or complications?
Dariana Gonzalez (Infant Food Frequency Questionnaire): We went back and forth asking questions to the owner of the product to understand the breakdown and then to code efficiently, for the calculations to be accurate.
Carlos A. Roche(IMPro: Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain): Utilizing tools like Google Drive and Google Hangouts allowed our team to collaborate on the project remotely and still be able to communicate our thoughts and ideas. Other tools such as Microsoft Project allowed the team to set deadlines for tasks that needed to be accomplished, and it helped us see when we should have materials in by, in order to successfully complete all tasks.
What was the most exciting moment of the Senior Design Experience?
Carina Cortes(CRETE Construction Group): The most exciting moment of the senior design experience was having the opportunity to present our project to the client/owner of Quint Collection Hollywood. He discussed the difficulties he was experiencing and also gave us insights on different approaches we could consider in order to complete the project.
Patricia Quintela(MIA-Trans Engineering): The most exciting part of the project is honestly right now, this moment, where you see the results of all your hard work. The showcase is about seeing everything come together.
Did you learn something about yourself through the Senior Design Experience?
Carina Cortes (CRETE Construction Group): I have especially learned not to be fearful, to be creative and take chances. Anything out of the ordinary today will make you stand out tomorrow.
Carlos A. Roche(IMPro: Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain): To not lose sight of the end goal and continue working at it without giving up. Things will go wrong, material will not be delivered, testing will fail, but the team will succeed in the end if you do not lose hope and utilize your resources.
Jorge Montesino(MIA-Trans Engineering): The thing I learned about myself personally is that when there is one person doing something, you are limited, but when working as a group and bringing all your talents together, you are able to create something that’s much bigger than an individual.
What advice/tips can you give to future Senior Design students that can help them with their project?
Carina Cortes (CRETE Construction Group): Take advantage of building relationships with professors. They teach you through their experiences and prepare you for real-life challenges you may come across.
Patricia Quintela (MIA-Trans Engineering): Plan ahead. With all these time constraints, you have to be very on top of your stuff. Do not wait for the due date to start thinking about deliverables.
Dariana Gonzalez(Infant Food Frequency Questionnaire): Be patient. When you are in school or in the industry, you are going to work with people who may not have a technical background. You need to learn how to be smart and kind enough to translate their ideas into some sort of code or software. This transition is very complicated therefore, it requires a lot of patience.
What’s next for these engineers?
Infant Food Frequency Questionnaire: Dariana Gonzalez is working for Ultimate Software as a software test engineer and Darykel Muro Sardina as a software developer at Purelogics.
IMPro: Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain: Monica Karas will be starting the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program at Nova Southeastern University in fall 2020, Manuel Vazquez plans to start medical school in 2020 and Carlos Roche is off to Orlando, Florida for an internship with the Walt Disney Company and hopes to pursue medical school in 2021.
MIA-Trans Engineering: Patricia Quintela has been hired as a transportation designer at Gannet Flemming, Jorge Montesino will be working as a traffic/transportation engineer at H.W. Locker, Luis Morgan is taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, Daniela Perez received an offer from Austin-Western, Favian Calleja looks to climb the ladder at his current employer, Yoan Barredo is looking to work as a structural engineer in California and Jean Rodriguez is considering pursuing his master’s degree.
CRETE Construction Group: Ariel Caballero works as a superintendent for Coastland Construction and Carina Cortes received an offer from NV2A.
MIA-Trans Engineering Team: (from left to right) Yoan Barredo, Daniela Perez, Patricia Quintela, Jorge Montesino, Luis Morgado, Jean Rodriguez, Favian Calleja
Infant Food Frequency Questionnaire Team: Daykel Muro Sardinas and Dariana Gonzalez
CRETE Construction Group: Ariel Caballero, Carina Cortes, Daniel Lopez
IMPro Application of the Gate Control Theory of Pain Team: Manuel Vazquez, Carlos A. Roche, Monica Karas, Sepehr Soroushiami
Manuel Vazquez, biomedical engineering student, presenting IMPro device alongside his teammates Carlos A. Roche and Monica Karas at the 2019 Fall Senior Design Showcase.