New to Engineers Without Borders

This year, Engineers Without Borders changed the name of “Freshman Leadership Board” to “NEWB” which creatively stands for New Engineers Without Borders. The name also resembles the word newbie which is ironically the purpose of the club. 

NEWB consists of specialized meetings outside of Engineers Without Border’s general meetings, which are specifically designed for new club members. The purpose of NEWB is to provide new members with upperclassmen mentors within the club, and to give them a manageable hands on engineering experience. NEWB also helps encourages incoming freshman to have long-term involvement in the club and helps to build relationships among club members. NEWB hopes to provide new members with a manageable first engineering design project, so that they can fully understand the engineering design process. The hope is that new members can then use the knowledge they gain to help with the club’s engineering projects later on.

The core of NEWB meetings is focused on an engineering experience that introduces new members to the engineering design process in a hands on way. This year, the new members were given the task of creating an engineering solution to an everyday problem. The members started by brainstorming problems that they were passionate about and wanted to solve. These problems were very broad and consisted of things such as water quality, and sanitation. The new members then narrowed down their problems and thought about specifically what problem they wanted to address. One group chose to address the problem of manual irrigation in Ghana. The second group chose to address the everyday issue of shoe laces being uncomfortable when they are tucked in and not staying put inside your shoe.

Once the specific problem was identified, the groups created a function tree of what their product must do to address the problem. They brainstormed multiple ideas that could potentially solve the given issue and developed a decision matrix to choose the best design. The first group selected a design that consisted of a cart that could hold water and be pulled by an animal such as a cow. This cart contained a mechanism that would release water at a specific rate in order to properly irrigate the crops as it is pulled through the rows. The second group settled on a design that consisted of a small, flexible piece of silicon that you could thread the unneeded ends of the shoe laces through. This piece of silicon can then comfortably slide into the sides or top of your shoe in order to contain the laces.

After a specific design was selected, the groups took to drawing their design in 3D on Autodesk Inventor. We are currently in the process of finishing up the 3D design and creating a list of materials needed to construct the product. After we finish designing, the teams will then purchase their supplies and assemble a final prototype of the product. Along with focusing on the Engineering Design process, NEWB also focuses on having a good time and engaging in members in activities with one another.

Along with working on the engineering projects, NEWB meetings also consist of a fun and interactive activities in order to engage members. We have done activities such as charades, trivia, pumpkin carving, and have even made furniture out of balloons. These activities provide a fun way for members to compete with each other and creates a collaborative atmosphere.

Overall, NEWB has been quite a success this year. We are excited to finish up the semester and see how the prototypes of our products turn out. The new members have been working hard and developing their engineering design skills. We cannot wait to see what the promising future holds for them within the club.

-Michelle Friedman, Director of New Engineers Without Borders