By Sherry Dibari

For the winners of the top prize at ESPEX 2022, tackling an important regional issue for their senior design project paid off.

The William G. Sykes Innovator and Entrepreneur Award, and $2500 prize, was presented to a group of Old Dominion University civil and environmental engineering and civil engineering technology students who collaborated with Hampton University architecture students in the development of adaptive design strategies to alleviate flooding in Portsmouth's Port Norfolk neighborhood.

The students attended civic league meetings, talked to community leaders and developed innovative green infrastructure ideas to alleviate flooding.

Using a Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), students proposed individual parcel and community-scale, low-impact development alternatives, including rain gardens, and below and above ground street interventions.

They also designed a green roof for the community center, identified all potential upstream storage sites to hold water until flood events subsided and provided cost estimations for their recommended strategies.

"Excellent work. Very good project," wrote Sykes on the winning card.

"This was a different experience for them as they had to communicate and make decisions across the two disciplines beyond their training," said Muge Erten-Unal, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Sustainable Development Institute. "We think they get a great sense of accomplishment seeing a project come together to positively impact their community."

More than 70 student projects were presented at ESPEX, the Batten College of Engineering and Technology's student project expo, held April 26 at the Ted Constant Center.

The undergraduate senior designs and graduate research projects covered a wide range of subjects including a bi-axial cell stretcher, an automated elevator system used in radiator manufacturing and a helmet sensor that can detect and alert coaches when an athlete has taken a hit indicative of a concussion.

This year, thanks to STIHL Inc. and William "Billy" Sykes, monetary prizes were offered for the best senior design and graduate research projects.

"STIHL's relationship with ODU's Batten College of Engineering and Technology has been a vital part of our success here in Virginia Beach," said Andreas Garstenauer, STIHL's director of manufacturing engineering. "The college is known for its focus on innovation and is a source of new engineering talent for us."

ESPEX 2022 Winners

The 2022 William G. Sykes Innovator and Entrepreneur Award

Adaptive Design Strategies to Flooding for Port Norfolk, Portsmouth

ODU Team Members:
Brian Guertler
Stephen Kline
Connor Maceyak
Rebecca Rodrigez
Scott Sperlik

HU Team Members:
Shadah Allah
Christian Galindo
Laona Hall
Anna Bernas-Kelly
Cedric Myles
Moffat Ngarimo

Mujde Erten-Unal
Carol Considine
Mason Andrews (HU)

STIHL Inc. Choice Award

Bi-Axial Cell Stretcher

Team Members:
Carter Lamb
Conrad Miller
Ian Fenn

Venkat Maruthamuthu

Undergraduate Student Design Project Award

Super Radiator Coils Fin Stacker

Team Members:
Raeburn Paulson
Andrew Perry
Tocara Simmons
Francis Chartier
Joey Cantrell

Orlando Ayala
Nathan Luetke

Department Chairs’ Award for Undergraduate Senior Design Project

Pulsed Plasma- Based Light Source as Spectral Calibrator

Team Members:
Ashley Razon
Dailon Donley
Krissy Kotvas
Zach Caudell

Chunqi Jiang
Chung-Hao Chen

Graduate Research Project Award

Transfer Learning and Facial Landmark Feature Fusion for Classification of Child Facial Expressions

Team Members:
Megan A. Witherow
Manar D. Samad
Norou Diawara

Khan Iftekharuddin

Dean’s Graduate Research Award

Transparent Piezoelectric Surface Acoustic Wave Transducers

Team Members:
Alexander Hatfield

Tian-Bing Xu

Peoples’ Choice Award

Youth Sport Instrumentation

Team Members:
Zaria Booth
Brian Johnson
Anna Leonor
Liam Lyons
Walter Mendoza Jesus
Kevin Seimetz
Jacob Tardif
Ryland Zywiak

Stacie Ringleb

To view a list of all of the entered projects: