Passion and Personal Connections at E-Fest

ASME E-Fest East was an excellent opportunity to interact and collaborate with engineering students from across the world. The entire conference was filled with memorable events beginning early on Friday afternoon with helping HPVC teams register for their events and ending on Sunday afternoon with the awards ceremony.

At Penn State, our undergraduate ASME chapter first became familiar with the idea of hosting an ASME E-Fest during the summer of 2017. As a group, we were very excited and eager to have the opportunity to apply as a host university for the conference. Once selected, helping to organize the event was a challenging yet fulfilling process including identifying the venue for each event and organizing over 100 student volunteers to support E-Fest East.

E-Fest East boasted a weekend of memorable moments beginning with the ability to network with such a diverse group of engineering students. Specifically, after registration, I was able to meet students from Alabama, Tennessee Tech, and Dayton Ohio to name a few. Sharing a common passion for engineering, it was enjoyable to listen to each team explain their SDC robot soccer and HPVC designs. Building these personal connections between future engineers made the conference even more exciting with all of the new friends made with each conversation.

Another memorable moment from the conference came during the SDC. The energy that each team brought while competing in the free-for-all contest was exhilarating. The cheers could be heard from across the room with all of the goals and remarkable saves made by the robots. Discussing tactics and watching robot repairs in-between games proved the competition was fierce and hard to take your eyes off of. All of the action and built up excitement from the SDC continued throughout E-Fest to also the competitive HPVC events.

The HPVC showed me the tradition that the contest has continued across decades. During the registration, a group of E-Fest students and myself were able to talk to a professor teaching at the University of Rochester who competed in a similar HPVC event in the past. It was interesting to hear how he helped guide his team from New York throughout the design and build seasons that lasted the entire academic year. Hearing his passion showed how meaningful E-Fest is to provide students with both leadership and scholarly opportunities to work within teams on completing difficult open-ended projects. Seeing these finished projects compete for the timed speed competition down Curtin Road with Beaver Stadium in the background was the perfect stage. Also, assisting the judging in the endurance race allowed me to each teams’ hard work pay off.

Overall, the entire conference brought together all aspects of engineering from student research, design competitions, and understanding the benefits engineering has on the community. Albert Manero’s presentation on his passion for providing prosthetics for children within Limbitless Solutions brought tears throughout the crowd on how big of an impact a small group of people can have in changing the lives of children.
Matthew O. Semanick is a member of the 2018-2019 E-Fest Leadership Program
If your university is interested in hosting a future E-Fest, checkout the Host Application