Expert Tasks Students on Proffering Solutions to Engineering Challenges
Students and researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Covenant University have been charged to channel their energy towards solving problems, through the deployment of a new academic curriculum targeted at teaching engineering beyond the level of mathematics.
The Channel Manager, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Quanser Consulting Incorporated, Yona Baskharoun, gave this charge on Thursday, 15th of September, 2016, while delivering a speech entitled, ‘Solutions for Teaching and Research in Controls, Mechatronics and Robotics’ at the Town and Gown Seminar of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Baskharoun observed that there is need for researchers in the field of engineering in Nigeria and Africa as a whole to start proffering solutions to local technological needs of the people, taking into considerations the peculiarity of the continent. She averred that most engineering feats of the Western nations are primarily designed to address their own challenges. Moreover, she stated that when such technologies are shipped down to Africa, the continent is made to pay for accessories in the equipment that are not necessarily needed in the continent.
The Egyptian-born engineer advised students in the Department not to be afraid of making mistakes, as whatever they have learnt in theory could be translated into tangible products through simulations, testing, re-testing and finally birthing a tangible product that can be used or improved upon.
She highlighted the importance of helping students have a firm grasp of the theoretical foundations, because the appropriate foundation established will serve as the fulcrum in the final applications of the knowledge discovered in the experimenting and testing processes.
Baskharoun, who has largely been responsible for developing collaboration between Quanser and institutions of higher learning to support engineering education, showed the audience various areas of robotics, and challenged them to show interest in mechatronics and robotics. According to her, Quanser is always looking out for enterprising and industrious students already on projects that they can partner with to completion.
On usability of microprocessors or controllers developed by Quanser for research activities in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, she stated that the kind of research embarked upon by an organization is what determines the kind of controllers they will manufacture for them.
She concluded by stating that the 21st century has become the age of automatic controls, thus it becomes imperative to learn more about mechatronics. She advised, engineering students and scholars to focus more on result-oriented research work in order to gain access and impact global conferences.
The Dean, College of Engineering, Professor Christian Bolu, expressed appreciation to the Guest Speaker for a robust presentation, hoping that it will motivate students in the college to take more interest in the profession. He noted that when students see something concrete coming out of the mathematics they have been working with, it will motivate and serve as encouragement to pursue higher goals.
He, however, bemoaned what he considered as unbalanced gender gap in the field of engineering, especially in the study of mechanical engineering, and hoped that the quality of presentation made by the guest speaker will motivate the few female students in the department to stay in the programme and encourage their female friends to embrace the programme and make good their dreams in the field of engineering.
The Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Oluseyi Ajayi, said the department has in the last two sessions emerged as the most subscribed programme in the university, and that the University Management has been magnanimous enough to dedicate a portion of the Covenant University Centre for Innovation, Research and Discovery (CUCRID) building for the study of Mechatronics.
Dr. Ajayi said while research in Mechatronics will take place at the CUCRID level, the department will work assiduously to ensure that Mechatronics is floated as a new programme in the department within the shortest possible time.
The Head, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, Dr. Victor Matthews, while commending Baskharoun for a most thought-provoking presentation, challenged the students to see themselves as the change agents the nation requires. According to him, “Nobody from outside will make Nigeria great. Take this lecture serious and be motivated to do something great that will give this nation its place in the comity of nations.”
The second Town and Gown of the department attracted scholars and technologists from across all departments in the College of Engineering in Covenant University.