Senior Project Showdown 2016

Senior Project Showdown: Winners develop products and services to solve real problems

By DeVry University

In keeping with the traditional capstone experience at most colleges, the Senior Project course at DeVry University presents an important opportunity for students to integrate the knowledge they’ve gained and apply the skills they’ve developed. At DeVry, seniors work with teams to analyze real-world problems and create working solutions that leverage today’s technologies.

Taking the capstone experience one step further is the DeVry University Senior Project Showdown, a national competition of projects from DeVry University’s Senior Project coursework that happens twice a year.

Here is a peek behind the scenes at the top three projects from our most recent Showdown (winners were announced February 2016), and the student teams who created them. 

1st Place Project: Car seat Alarm System

Team Members: Jordon Pabingwit, Veronica Kelly, Hannah Sprague

Campus: Phoenix, AZ

Last summer, when these team members were in their first project development course, the topic of accidental injury and death of children left in vehicles was increasingly in the headlines. 

Jordon, a new father at the time, proposed the idea for a car seat alarm to help prevent a simple oversight from turning into a tragedy. He was also motivated in part by his own experience, having left a younger brother in the car many years ago (happily, all is well). 

Project Description:
This project provides a technical solution to prevent infant heat stroke injury and death. With its modular design, this system is easy to install and use in any car seat in order to protect the child as well as bring peace of mind to parents and caregivers. The product integrates current microprocessor and wireless communication technology with a custom sensor design. The system activates when the car is turned off and there is a child in the seat: the key fob will alarm if it is out of range from the car or if a specified time frame has passed. 

What was the most challenging part of the senior project course?
Jordan: The most challenging part for me was the integration of hardware and software. We approached the problem by making sure all the components worked individually, then going through step by step to identify where the source of the problem was. 

What did you enjoy the most about the senior project?

Hannah: I enjoyed being able to put everything we had learned together to actually make something that could potentially save lives.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student about to start their senior project, what would you say?
I would emphasize front-ending as much of your project as possible.  This would entail doing as much in the beginning as you can in order to be able to thoroughly develop the project. 

What do you plan to do next?
Hannah: During my four years at DeVry I found myself more capable than I gave myself credit for and stepped into several leadership roles. Once I have my feet firmly planted as Project Coordinator in the semiconductor industry, I plan on continuing my education with Keller to earn my Master's degree in Project Management. 

2nd Place Project: Unconventional Deli (Marketing Plan)

Team Members: Lara Mae Echon, Megan Ortiz, Heather Smith, Mary Maxion

Campus: Long Beach, CA

This senior project team came together naturally through on-campus connections. They decided to select a project related to all their various concentrations: marketing to increase revenues. They acquired Deli News Pizza as their client, a local business that was close to the campus, and under new management.

Project Description:
The team focused on helping new management of Deli News Pizza increase revenue, gain new clientele and add market share. They performed a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and in-depth industry research to form their recommendations. Deli News was encouraged to install a POS system, utilize tools and reports to understand costs, increase social media presence and market catering packages to surrounding schools and office buildings.

What was the most challenging part of the senior project course?
Heather: Our client was unable to provide the financial information we requested to do an in-depth SWOT analysis, and suggested canceling the project in week 4. Rather than start over with a new client halfway through the session, we changed direction to focus on industry research and local market findings to help the company, and the client was happy to continue.

What did you enjoy the most about the senior project?
I enjoyed the team I got to work with. All three ladies were very strong minded, goal oriented, determined, and focused. I can only hope to work with individuals like them in the future. 

If you could give one piece of advice to a student about to start their senior project, what would you say?
Do not be afraid to change direction and be flexible. Even with several changes to our original plan, we were able to create a great project with which all parties involved were very pleased.

What do you plan to do next?
Lara Mae:
Now that I earned my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, I am currently working as an Accounts Payable Clerk for a logistic company. However, my plan is still to continue  my education by enrolling in Keller Graduate School and take coursework to help prepare me for the CPA exam.

3rd Place Project: Cropnostics Plant Diagnostic Center

Team Members: Bryan Kasun, Gavin Johnson, Dallas Broughton, Bradley Ward

Campus: Online Students, various metros

The Cropnostics team was comprised of four students earning their engineering technology degrees online, physically located in three different time zones. 

The group opted to select a project in a field related to Bryan’s work with agricultural machinery at RCI Engineering, having identified a need in the industry. In order to design and produce a working prototype, division of duties and project management were essential – teammates made sure to hold at least one weekly meeting on iConnect to support the process.

Project Description:
This project was to develop an all-in-one, portable data gathering system that can be used by farmers and gardeners to monitor soil moisture levels, soil temperature, rain level, ultraviolet sunlight levels, wind speed and ambient air temperature. The system transmits the information to a cloud SQL database via Cellular GSM where the data can be viewed remotely, in real time, from any internet connected device such as a smartphone, tablet or PC. Data viewed in the user-friendly dashboard aids in determining the overall health of crops at any time. 

What was the most challenging part of the senior project course?
Timing, and the physical distance between the teammates. This created a few extra challenges as they were completing the project while working remotely.

What did you enjoy the most about the senior project?
I enjoyed this senior project as a whole because it was closely related to what I'd be doing on the job. I also liked learning how to interface many new sensors and the cellular module, and getting to interact with other students on the design team.

Dallas: These Senior Project courses really gave us an opportunity to bring together what we have learned and apply it, and also to interact with team members with different skill sets.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student about to start their senior project, what would you say?
I would suggest that you not procrastinate even though it seems like you have a huge amount of time to complete the project.

What do you plan to do next?
I currently am employed with a Radar Company in Virginia and am now moving into system design. I came to DeVry to obtain my Bachelor's Degree which has been one of the best decisions I've made. I cannot wait to see all the possibilities now available.

The next DeVry University Senior Project Showdown will take place in July 2016. We look forward to more innovative problem solving and another collection of impressive projects from our students!