Skip to main content

UOIT Engineering students capture international awards

UOIT's 2013 PACE Forum award winners. From left: 2013 BEng graduates Nathan Groot-Nibbelink, Jacob Beenen and Jordan McDonnell.
UOIT's 2013 PACE Forum award winners. From left: 2013 BEng graduates Nathan Groot-Nibbelink, Jacob Beenen and Jordan McDonnell.

Three University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Mechanical Engineering graduates are in the spotlight for their contributions as students to the development of a portable assisted mobility device (PAMD) – a vehicle used in conjunction with public or private transportation.

Jacob Beenen, Nathan Groot-Nibbelink and Jordan McDonnell (2013 Bachelor of Engineering graduates) collected two awards at the 2013 Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE) Forum in Pasadena, California for their capstone design project entitled Design and Development of a Portable Assisted Mobility Device. The PACE competition involves seven teams representing 34 universities around the world.

Supervised by Dr. Atef Mohany, Assistant Professor, UOIT Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS)  the UOIT students were teamed with three other universities: McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Monterrey, Mexico; and ITESM in Toluca, Mexico. Their collaborative design won second place for Market Research and third place in the Ready for Production category.

“Teamwork and practical hands-on experiences are the cornerstone of our programs because they challenge our students to apply their knowledge in real-life situations and push their boundaries of thinking and learning,” said Dr. Tarlochan Sidhu, Dean, UOIT FEAS. “We are proud of Jacob, Nathan and Jordan for demonstrating their innovative abilities to collaborate as part of a team and for leveraging these skills into successful employment opportunities.”

“Being involved with the PACE global competition to produce a PAMD was an important part of my final year,” said Groot-Nibbelink, who is now a Production Engineer with Electrical Contacts Limited in Hanover, Ontario. “Interacting with other universities from around the world and collaborating with them to design a functional prototype challenged me to get past language barriers, cultural differences, and distance interaction to create something of real, tangible value not only for our team but for the advancement of economic and green technology worldwide.”

“The project provided excellent engineering experience through the entire design and research process that you cannot acquire in the classroom,” said Beenen, now a Quality Engineer for Chrysler LLC in Windsor, Ontario. “I am excited that all the hard work put forth from the team has resulted in a second and third place award.”

"The PACE global project was an excellent learning opportunity for me, teaching me about cross-culture collaboration and about the full process of product development,” adds McDonnell, now a Junior Mechanical Engineer with Amico Corporation in Richmond Hill, Ontario. “Both skills are helping me greatly in my career."

“Congratulations to our students for representing the University of Ontario Institute of Technology with such distinction,” said Dr. Remon Pop-Iliev, Professor and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Ontario Power Generation Chair in Innovative Design Engineering. “Undergraduate design education opportunities like the PACE program help transform UOIT students into innovators and thought leaders.”

“I am really proud of Jacob, Nathan and Jordan, and it was a pleasure to supervise them on this project,” said Dr. Mohany. “I was really impressed with the way they approached this design project and the amount of knowledge they gained in a relatively short period. These awards reflect the excellence and the quality of UOIT Engineering graduates.”