Water quality and a bridge were two of the projects being worked on at Quinnipiac University School of Engineering’s Annual Projects Day this past Wednesday, May 6 at the Center for Communications and Engineering in Hamden. One civil engineering senior design team partnered with the Town of Hamden and the other team partnered with the Eli Whitney Museum and Save the Sound to study and design solutions to real world problems.
“The Annual Projects Day is the culmination of another amazing year of hard work by the senior engineering students at the Quinnipiac University School of Engineering” states Kimberly DiGiovanni, Assistant Teaching Professor of Civil Engineering who taught and mentored students during this process. “By working on real world projects, the students gain valuable experience in their journey from high school students to careers as engineers.”
Priscilla Fonseca, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and a fellow adviser for the students, said “By having mentors from industry, our students gain experience working with clients and practicing engineers. The town, the Eli Whitney Museum, and Save the Sound met with the students to pitch projects just like a client.”
The students assembled their design teams early in the spring semester and chose among the projects presented.
One of the design teams evaluated the stormwater runoff in the Eli Whitney Museum parking lot to ultimately preserve the quality of the Mill River. The project was a collaboration between the Museum and Save the Sound. The Town Engineering Department also provided guidance and the regulatory hurdles the students would need to face when presenting a design.
“Save the Sound is very concerned with the water that travels from local storm drainage systems into our rivers and drinking water supply reservoirs,” said Nicole Davis, Watershed Coordinator at Save the Sound. “Because the museum complex was constructed prior to the establishment of the State’s current stormwater regulations, rain flows directly off the parking lots into the Mill River. That can carry oils and other chemicals downstream through the rest of the river’s course and into the Sound.”
The design team worked collaboratively with the Museum and evaluated a rain garden to control the storm runoff coming from the parking area. Student team members Greg Giuliani, Dean Manetta, Jason Kearns, Nick Rajaratnam and Kevin Thimotee proposed a rain garden to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of the water leaving the site.
“By providing us options, we can work towards changes to increase water quality,” stated William Brown, Director. “We now have additional options to cost to effectively make improvements to the water quality.”
“Our Public Works Department identified the bridge to Pine Rock Park located off Brook Street in Hamden, Connecticut as needing replacement. The students were asked to design a pedestrian bridge that will replace an existing deteriorating bridge within the Park,” indicated Mark Austin, Town Engineer.
A structural analysis was completed for three different design proposals regarding a long span design of 50 ft to replace the existing bridge, and two alternatives for a short span design of 27 ft, at an older bridge location. The students evaluated replacement and determined cost options. Based on the environmental impacts and cost of the replacement, the team is recommended replacing the existing pedestrian bridge in place. Bridge team members were Ralph Arred, Antonino Cappello, John DeMartinis, Keith Griswold and Matteo Longobardi.
DiGiovanni said “The cooperation between the Town and the University benefits us all. The students work on real-world projects which helps prepare them for their careers as engineers. The University provides an excellent education for our students and fosters a strong community bond.”
Austin added “I want to see every one of these students to get an A. The better grades they earn, the better products they are designing, and the better designs we can use into the future.”
Craig Cesare, Public Works Director said. “An advantage of having these studies is the ability for us to look at options. Because we are planning on replacing the bridge ourselves, we are able to work directly with the students to customize the design to our construction capabilities.”
Mayor Curt Leng commented, “These projects and deliverables are examples of learning opportunities which make a difference in our real, local world. I thank Quinnipiac for collaborating with the Town to provide these opportunities for students, to assist Hamden with special projects, and for bringing our two communities closer together through cooperative partnerships like this program.”
Quinnipiac University Engineering School featured approximately 30 projects from students in all five of the majors: civil engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering and computer science. There were video displays and hardware demonstrations of the senior design and independent research projects, and the students created virtual meetings to present their creations and findings. We are immensely proud of Quinnipiac’s Students and young engineers, and thank them for their hard work on these projects.