Competing against the best of the best, and doing so on a national scale, two Ferris State University College of Engineering Technology students emerged successful.
Andrew Meyer, a Rubber Engineering Technology major, and James Connors, a Chemistry major, earned first-place finishes at the seventh annual Rubber Expo’s Student Colloquium for undergraduates at the Rubber Division’s 178th Technical meeting in Milwaukee, Wis., beginning Oct. 12 and running through Oct. 14. As a result of successes, Connors and Meyer were awarded $1,500 scholarships.
Connors and Meyer expressed belief that Ferris’ practical approach to education prepared them for success in Wisconsin and will prepare them for more success in life after college.
“I feel that the Student Colloquium is a great way to get your name out into the industry,” Meyer said. “This industry is ready for new upcoming engineers and, with our specific degree; I feel we are perfect for the job.
“I also feel honored to receive this scholarship along with my classmate Jim,” he added.
Meyer, a native of Bay City, was winner for “Best Undergraduate Paper” while Connors, a native of Niles, was winner for “Best Undergraduate Poster.”
Meyer’s research was centered on a breakdown between different supplies of hypalon rubber. His goal was testing alternative sources to better understand what the properties of each could produce. Connors’ research focused on the chemistry involved in making rubber.
“The competition was an awesome experience and the reason for this is the fact that my submission was viewed by nearly 100 different businesses in the rubber industry giving me some great exposure,” said Connors, who is minoring in Polymer Material Technology. “Not only did I gain some exposure at the competition, but also, I gained a lot of knowledge in research project management which is practically.”
Connors and Meyer, under the guidance of Ferris associate professor Matthew Yang, agreed that the actual scholarship dollars were more like an added bonus to the opportunity to showcase the knowledge they have both strengthened through a Ferris education and to begin to make industry contacts.
“Winning was icing on the cake,” said Connors who also serves as captain of Ferris’ varsity cheer team and is a student coach. “I’m just glad that I got the chance to do what I did.”
Added Meyer, “The real prize was being able to speak one on one with industry professionals and learning from them.”
For Yang, excitement about the scholarships and recognition had deeper meaning.
“We are showing the industry that we are capable of solving the problems regarding the urgent issues of cleaner and sustainable manufacturing,” Yang said. “So, what we are doing is problem solving and not just doing this for the sake of publishing or presenting. We’re doing work that is supported by industry.”