UD students part of winning teams in global venture competition

Ask any professor in the College of Engineering, and they’ll tell you the University of Delaware attracts some of the most talented students in the world. However, just a few weeks ago, one professor had the chance to prove it.

Associate Professor Jenni Buckley is a favorite among students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. A firm believer in the irreplaceable value of experiential learning, Buckley has been recognized as an exceptional educator and changemaker in engineering education during her 10 years teaching at UD, including as co-director of The Design Studio, the department’s primary training ground for engineering students, equipped and staffed to support a variety of design projects, including automotive, aerospace, medical devices and robotics, just to name a few.

Last year, Buckley learned of a new competition that hoped to bring together the most promising student engineers from around the world to compete in a “design challenge,” a multi-day event where students are divided into teams to solve specific technical problems presented by company sponsors. For example, an app developer wanted to create a mobile platform for on-demand personal security, sort of like an Uber, except bodyguards. A battery manufacturer hoped to optimize and automate its inspection process. Stuff like that.

The teams that return the most feasible designs are declared the winners, but every student walks away with hands-on design experience and new professional connections.

“It was fun,” said Buckley, who encouraged numerous students to apply, of which nine were selected to compete. “We are a very good engineering school, and our students just killed it. They blew the doors off.”

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