PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University’s Radio-Controlled Baja Club took first place in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) Student Professional Development Conference District D competition held April 21st in Ellensburg, Washington.

The competition, which included teams from throughout the Northwest, requires students to design and build a radio-controlled car that must navigate a drag race, slalom, and obstacle course. The teams are also judged on their design and presentation.

The students put in thousands of hours on the project, designing and building their aluminum-frame car, said Ryan Evans, team co-captain and a senior in mechanical engineering. Brandyn Giroux, team co-captain, led design and manufacturing efforts.

The club raised more than $6500 in donations, which allowed them to build with high quality components. Due to the quality of their design, they were selected to receive further financial support from the Bruce and Barbara Wollstein Endowment. “The students embraced the process from concept to design,” said Bruce Wollstein, a member of the College of Engineering and Architecture Executive Leadership Board. “The result was fantastic. They did the college proud.”

The experience provides valuable design experience outside the classroom that students don’t get in their lecture classes, said Evans.

“This is the chance to apply engineering to a real-world situation and produce something that we designed and built with our own hands.”

Three mechanical engineering classes helped with the project, providing analysis and testing for the car. Four students, including Brandyn Giroux, Eric Barrow, Alyssa Essman, and Ryan Evans, incorporated the project into their senior capstone project .

The student team also collaborated with classes within the department, providing a unique approach that tied coursework with the club and changing the way the traditional club has operated.

“They defined a new normal,” said Wollstein.

“We’re all really proud and happy that all of our hard work paid off,” said Evans. “We did really well and were able to take our design to a really high level that hadn’t been accomplished before.”

The student group is advised by Jitesh Panchal, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and the 2012 Reid Miller Outstanding Teacher award recipient.

Students on the project included:
  • Ryan Evans – Senior Mechanical Engineer – Yakima Washington
  • Eric Barrow – Senior Mechanical Engineer – Langley Washington
  • Dan Peters – Junior Mechanical Engineer – Edmonds Washington
  • Alyssa Essman – Senior Mechanical Engineer – Lake Stevens Washington
  • Cole Miller – Junior Mechanical Engineer – Federal Way Washington
  • Brandyn Giroux – Senior Mechanical Engineer – Kennewick Washington
  • Christian Taylor – Junior Mechanical Engineer – Seattle Washington
  • Justin Larson – Junior Mechanical Engineer – Hobart Washington
  • Kelly Hanna – Senior Mechanical Engineer –Oxford Pennsylvania