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Out-of-this-world results for UOIT engineering students at provincial design competition

Team finishes ahead of universities from across Ontario; will compete at national competition in New Brunswick

OSHAWA, ON. - Drawing upon their educational experiences on campus, outstanding design skills and acute capability to perform under pressure, four students from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) made sure the planets were aligned earlier this month when they finished ahead of university teams from across the province to win the Senior Design Competition category at the 2009 Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC).

UOIT's winning team is comprised of Chris Kantor and Beesham Mahadeo, third-year students in the Bachelor of Engineering and Management in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics option) program, and Dave Mathews and Ayaz Juma, third-year students from the Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics option) program. The team, one of 15, was given a Deep Space Recovery scenario that involved a problem statement requiring them to develop and create a remotely controlled device capable of navigating an unnamed distant planet and retrieving the scattered pieces of a crashed spacecraft and depositing them in a pod to be shuttled back to Earth for investigation.

As the winner of the Senior Design Competition category the team will now travel to the 25th annual Canadian Engineering Competition from Thursday, March 5 to Sunday, March 8 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

"I am very happy and proud to see the remarkable accomplishments of these Engineering students," said Dr. Remon Pop-Iliev, an associate professor with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at UOIT. "These results are yet another indication that UOIT's Engineering students are among the best in the province and will be fully prepared to achieve success in their industrial or professional engineering careers or while pursuing graduate studies."

The 30th annual OEC was held at the University of Guelph on February 7 and featured six different categories: Consulting Engineering, Innovative Design, Engineering Communications, Senior Design, Junior Design and Parliamentary Debate. Teams were judged on the technical merit and feasibility of the unique product, service or process they invented.

Each team was given eight hours to design a seven- to 10-minute presentation that included a description and critique of its design in addition to highlighting features such as cost, functionality and uniqueness. Besides the time constraints, teams were only allowed to use the tools provided, were not allowed to touch the design artifact during its demonstration and were instructed to give priority to the recovery of non-biodegradable pieces of the spacecraft to minimize environmental impact.

"On behalf of our team, I would like to say how proud we are to have successfully represented UOIT and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science on a provincial level," said Juma. "Thanks to the knowledge and skills attained through our studies, we feel that we can make a positive impact at the national competition and in our future. We would like to thank the faculty and especially Dr. Richard Marceau and Dr. Pop-Iliev for their ongoing support and this amazing opportunity."

This year's win in the Senior Design Competition category brings UOIT's overall OEC awards total to four in the last three years. Representatives from the university's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science finished first in the Junior Design Competition and third in the Senior Design Competition in 2007, and third in the Junior Design Competition in 2006.

UOIT's 2009 Senior Design team was chosen through an internal design competition sponsored by Dr. Pop-Iliev through his Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and General Motors of Canada Limited (NSERC-GMCL) Chair in Innovative Design Engineering and organized with help from UOIT's Engineering Society.

UOIT's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science offers excellence in education, high-calibre and value-added research and high-quality and innovative market-driven undergraduate and graduate programs in areas such as Mechanical, Manufacturing, Automotive, Software and Electrical Engineering, along with five-year Engineering and Management variations. Many programs are unique to Ontario and even Canada, ensuring students are prepared to graduate as the country's next-generation engineers.


About UOIT
As an innovative university, UOIT delivers a leading-edge learning environment that uniquely combines academic knowledge, research opportunities, hands-on skills and a vibrant student life. UOIT's more than 5,500 students are taught by professors who are experts in their fields from around the world. As Ontario's first laptop-based university, the university offers a diverse array of challenging undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its faculties of Business and Information Technology; Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies; Education; Energy Systems and Nuclear Science; Engineering and Applied Science; Health Sciences; and Science. UOIT's commitment to research excellence has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and awards, including five Canada Research Chairs. To find out more, visit or call 905.721.8668.

About Ontario Tech University
A modern, forwarding-thinking university, Ontario Tech advances the discovery and application of knowledge to accelerate economic growth, regional development and social innovation. We inspire and equip our students and our graduates to make a positive impact in a tech-focused world. For us, it’s not only about developing the next tech breakthrough. Understanding and integrating the social and ethical implications of technology differentiates us as university. Learn more at

Media contact
Michelle Roebuck
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
905.721.8668 ext. 2197