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Students working on a hand pump in West AfricaActivities

At Messiah College, you’ll find plenty of ways to link what you’re learning in the classroom with hands-on engineering experience.

Here are some of our current activities and areas of expertise...

Communications Technology
Messiah Engineering students are developing low-cost, innovative communication solutions for non-profit organizations. An Alternative Aviation Solutions (AAS) senior project group, in '05-'06, prototyped an automatic system for tracking small aircraft with GPS coordinates sent by HF radio to the home base. This system is now under further development by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) technical staff for use on the field. AAS '06-'07 developed an enhanced version of an existing automatic position recording system (APRS) to include simple text messaging by the pilot, and Google Earth display of tracking and status information, on the ground. The latter involves a network of low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites linked to the internet, as currently used by pilots of UIM in Mexico. AAS '07-'08 will carry on the cutting-edge work in this area. Other proposed activities of ACTS (Antennas, Communications and Telemetry Services) and the Communications Group of the Collaboratory include software defined radio (SDR), Very Small Aperture Antennas (VSATs) for internet connectivity in remote locations, Packet Radio for text messaging in remote locations, and various modes of HF, VHF, UHF amateur radio bands for experimentation, contests and emergency services.

Faculty Contact: Dr. Harold Underwood

Appropriate Assistance for Disabled Persons

Students in the Disability Resources Group (formerly Mobility Group) of the Collaboratory have been developing appropriate mobility solutions for persons with disabilities for many years. The tricycle project team members have continually refined a design for a hand-powered tricycle that can efficiently navigate the terrain of rural Burkina Faso. Other students have since adapted the tricycle to also run off batteries and solar power. In addition to developing tricycles, one senior project team worked on developing prosthetics for landmine victims. Additional projects with prosthetics are not planned right now, but may take place in the future.

Faculty/Staff Contacts: Dr. Tim Van Dyke, Mr. John Meyer

Sustainable Energy

As questions of fossil fuel dependance, energy sustainability, and climate change come to the center of the world stage, Messiah Engineering students are continuing a tradition of finding the answers to those questions. Students working with the Energy Group of the Collaboratory have for many years designed and installed solar electricity systems for clinics, mission stations, and rehabilitation centers in Africa. Some Energy Group students are also studying and applying principles of energy efficiency and solar water heating, while others are developing small-scale production processes for biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The Solar Scholars project is currently designing and installing a solar energy training facility on campus with the goal of educating other Messiah students and visitors about the potential for solar technology.

Faculty/Staff Contacts: Dr. Randy Fish

Society of Women Engineers - Student Interest Group

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Student Interest Group (SIG) is a community of women engineering students and faculty at Messiah College dedicated to serving God through community fellowship and the expansion of engineering services. The SWE-SIG theme verse is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ (Mathew 22:37-39) This verse expresses the society’s desire to love everyone through relationships and service. SWE-SIG plans to partner with local organizations to serve the community. This year the society will build a safety regulated playground for The Silence of Mary Home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Faculty Contact: Dr. Randy Fish

Transportation Technologies

For many years, the Department of Engineering has had a strong interest and investment in developing cutting edge transportation technologies. Messiah Engineering students concentrate on sustainable and appropriate transportation solutions. The Transportation and Mobility Groups are both working on appropriate vehicles powered by electricity and recharged by the sun - a technology area pioneered at Messiah by the former Genesis Solar Racing team. Meanwhile, the Flying Club is working with the Transportation group to design and build an airplane which will fall under the FAA's new designation "Light Sport Aircraft."

Faculty Contact: Dr. Don Pratt

Water Resources

Clean, abundant water is one of the most pressing needs in the world today. Messiah Engineering students are working to develop and expand many water-related technologies, including well drilling, rrigation, water pumping, water purification, and sustainable agriculture. Several senior design projects have developed key water technologies, such as a low-cost, portable water filtration system, a percussion well drilling rig, and a redesigned hand pump for disabled persons. Work on these projects and more continues within the Water Group of the Collaboratory.

Faculty Contact: Dr. Tim Whitmoyer

Many of these activities are part of the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research and/or the Integrated Projects Curriculum.

You can also read about past Messiah Engineering activities.


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