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Designing for Tomorrow

Imagine designing an exoskeleton that will enable a quadriplegic to stand or building a platform that assists quadriplegic hunters, specifically disabled veterans, in their sport. Or, imagine designing a system that ejects a data capsule in the event that a blowout preventer loses electricity.


For many mechanical engineering seniors, the pinnacle of their undergraduate curriculum is the Capstone Senior Design project. And for these seniors, they recently showcased their products that began as only an idea more than a year ago.

The LSU College of Engineering, or CoE, Department of Mechanical Engineering, or ME hosted the ME 4202 Capstone Design II annual seminar presentation May 4-5 in the Frank Walk Design Presentation Room. A project exhibition was also held on May 5 in the Patrick F. Taylor Courtyard.

This year’s projects and presenters included the following:

The Formula SAE team included the following ME seniors: Benjamin Pejsach, Jerrad Rolon, Colin Kappe, Timothy McMinn and Jeffrey Ortego. Electrical engineering seniors included Nolon Cavalier, Shravan Kilaru, Irfan Thakur and Duong Vu. The team designed and built a scaled-down formula-style race car and competed against more than 100 teams at the international Formula SAE Racing Competition at the Michigan International Speedway. The team’s advisor was Tryfon Charalampopoulos.

The Moving Airfoil Cascade with Pulsed Film Cooling team included Christopher Foreman, Robert Giglio and Shiloh Meyers. The seniors designed and built a test section of a wind tunnel in order to measure the effects of temperature and velocity on the tunnel’s turbine blades. The group hopes its project will lead to better film cooling designs and more efficient, energy-producing gas turbines. The team’s advisors were Dimitris Nikitopoulos and Shengmin Guo.


The Film Cooled Rotating Airfoil Cascade team was comprised of Allison Briede, Christopher Drewes and Benjamin Hood. The team designed and constructed a rotating rotor facility to use in turbine testing, which will be integrated into a closed-loop wind tunnel. The team’s advisor was Sumanta Acharya.

The Test Rig for Characterization of Elastomeric Couplings team included Todd Burford, Matthew Arnondin, David Barleycorn, Jess Castagnos, Lee Lagarde and Brant Skal. The seniors designed and built a test rig to compare the durability of two models of couplings in order to determine their resiliency. The team’s advisor was Michael Khonsari.

ME seniors, who designed and built Mobile Marksman, included Josh Chapman, John Harrison, Clayton Rosenthal and Jared Williamson. The students built a gun platform that attaches to a motorized vehicle to assist quadriplegic hunters in their sport. The project targets disabled veterans, who may not have full use of their arms and hands upon returning from military duty. The team’s advisor was Keith Gonthier.

The Black Box Ejector for BOPs team included the following ME seniors: Jace Boudreaux, Josh Cusimano, Leonard Johnson, Allan McIlwain, Taylor Morris, Ifeanyi Okoro and Quentin Yougoubare. Electrical engineering team members included Cory Curson and Robert Graves. The goal of the project was to design and build a system that ejects a data capsule in the event that a blowout preventer loses electricity. The group’s advisor was Gonthier.

ME seniors, who designed and built the Next Generation Paintball Gun, included John Gilbert, Nicholas Gilbert and Edwin Mathews. The team designed and constructed a battery-powered alternative to the compressed air paintball gun. The students hope their innovative design will create a competitive alternative in the paintball gun market. The team’s advisor was Michael Martin.

The Hydraulics Training Simulator team included Russell Garehan, Warren Bowling, Devin Dannemiller and Cole Goiron. The group’s objective was to design and build a training rig to serve as a hands-on training facility to teach mill mechanics how to troubleshoot malfunctioned parts of a hydraulics machine. The team’s advisor was Jack Helms.


Team members of Walk Again included the following ME seniors: David Bray, Steven Cobb, Blake Conzelmann, Mark Korinek, Evan Ledet, Patrick Vocke and Rachel Yates. Electrical engineering seniors include Brittany Culotta, William LaFleur and Patrick Sibley. The group designed and constructed the first phase of a testing device that will allow quadriplegics to walk again. The end goal was to provide a new type of exoskeleton, capable of balancing on its own. The team’s advisor was Marcio De Queiroz.

The Therapeutic Wheelchair team included Adam Blessing, Justin Blanchard and Arthur Hebert. The project targeted children who suffer from ambulatory disabilities. The seniors hope that their prototype wheelchair will be a useful tool in physical therapy, as well as daily activities. The team’s advisor was Jack Helms.

Projects were judged by a design panel consisting of local industry leaders and LSU faculty and alumni. This year’s design review panel consisted of:

  • Lindsay L. Dziuba, P.E. (B.S. ME, 2002) – engineering manager, ILD Inc.
  • Jennifer Farques – Area D operations manager, Conoco Phillips
  • Mark Fry (B.S. ME, 2010) – LSU Graduate School
  • John E. Fuller, Ph.D. (B.S. ME, 1994; Ph.D., 2001) – project manager, Schlumberger Production Services Product Group
  • Richard Gaudin, P.E. (B.S. ME, 1982) – director of engineering, G Squared Engineering Products
  • Diane Ho (B.S. ME, 2008) – LSU Graduate School
  • Jeffrey Holeman (B.S. ME, 1983) – regional customer service manager, Entergy Inc.
  • Warren R. Hull Sr., P.E. (B.S. ME, 1968) – manager, Engineering Communication Studio, LSU
  • Bart Kemper, P.E. (B.S. ME, 1992) – Kemper Engineering Services
  • A.J. McPhate, P.E. (LSU faculty, 1962-1992) – senior consultant, ECRS-Metalock; Kemper Engineering Services
  • Michael J. Meyers (B.S. ME) – Conoco Phillips
  • Matt Rouse (B.S. ME 1998) – engineering manager, CDI Engineering Solutions
  • David F. Bowles – Engineering Communication Studio, LSU

To obtain information for next year’s event, submit an area for research, or to become a judge or sponsor, please contact Larry Dufour at ldufour@lsu.edu or Dimitris Nikitopoulos at medimi@lsu.edu