Student Projects & Accomplishments

See What Students are Doing

Feel free to check out our JBU Engineering Facebook page for even more news.

Senior Design Projects


Every year our Engineering seniors team up with companies or organizations to design, test and ultimately deliver a working prototype as part of our year-long capstone Senior Design sequence. Typically, a total of about ten teams will be formed to work on distinct projects with each company team having several students. Though the scope of each project varies, there is one overarching constant every year - the students will work closely with a representative of the sponsoring firm to come up with a design which meets the customer’s specifications.  We have found this arrangement to be a great transition for students as they move from the academic world to the “real” world.   

A partial list of the sponsoring companies and organizations from the last several years includes:

HCJB/Sonset Solutions; NASA (Lunabotics competition); Zebco; John Zink Co.; TD Williamson; AIAA (Jet Engine Competition); EPA; Cobb-Vantress; FNA Group; American Airlines; Kohler Engines; Baldor; Rockline; Simmons Foods; Delta Systems; Texas Instruments; Gates


Renewable Energy Senior Project - Aquaponics System


SWE Club 

 Student Projects Student Projects 

Left Photo: From left to right: Audrey Dearien (Senior), Julia Theisen (Junior), Mrs. Kim Cornett, Leanna Ngo (Junior),
and Neeya Toleman (Sophmore)
Right Photo: New SWE Mascot, yet to be named.

Audrey, Julia, Leanna and Neeya are the founding officers for JBU's new Society of Women Engineers (SWE) campus section. Mrs. Cornett (JBU Engineering Alum) is the JBU section's SWE counselor. The group attended the Region C (TX, LA, AR, MS)  conference of SWE hosted nearby in Rogers, Arkansas. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from fellow SWEsters and keynote speakers from corporations such as ABB/Baldor and the VP of sustainability of Walmart. There was a career fair and workshops that included time management, exemplary leadership, rocking your "elevator" pitch, salary negotiation skills and others. The JBU SWE section has already begun outreach programs in the local schools to encourage young women interested in engineering. The club is a great new addition to JBU and to the Engineering Department! 

Scholarships & Fellowships


Zach Lee, senior electrical and computer engineering student, was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

The fellowship supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Masters and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions, according to the Graduate Research Fellowship Program’s website. Please see the following articles for more details -  The Threefold Advocate & JBU Now





Student Projects Scholarships  

(Left: Larry Bland, Division Chair, presenting Joe Price & Zach Lee with their Scholarships)

John Brown University students, Joe Price and Zach Lee have been recognized by IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative. The Initiative nationally recognizes undergraduate students who have declared a major in engineering, are high achievers with strong GPAs with distinctive extracurricular commitments and are committed to exploring the power and energy field. Joe and Zach will receive scholarship funds for up to three years as well as opportunities for internships and co-ops within the power and energy industry. IEEE ( is the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology.




NASA Internship - Brian Plank

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 John Brown University student Brian Plank’s autograph is on the wings of a NASA-designed aircraft that will be displayed at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Plank, an engineering major at JBU, recently completed a summer internship at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in California. There he worked as a research associate/project manager, testing flights of a subscale flying wing aircraft.
“He wrote the flight test plans, conducted the tests and managed the flight test schedule,” the AFRC stated in a press release.
The goal of the internship was to design an aerodynamic aircraft with lower drag that would decrease fuel consumption for a cheaper and environmentally safe flight. Plank received a $6,500 Workforce Development Grant, funded by the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium, to cover his trip costs and housing costs at the NASA Armstrong Center. There is a possibility that Plank will return to the Armstrong center after graduation.
“Brian is exactly the sort of student that NASA is looking for — someone who is interested in aerospace and is looking for that next challenge, that next opportunity, that undiscovered research territory,” Al Bowers, chief scientist at NASA Armstrong Center, stated in a NASA press release.
On campus, Plank initiated the Eaglenaut Aerospace Club and is leading the JBU NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition team.

Read the full press release here.

(photo below - Brian notes that this flight is the first time in history that inboard vortices have been conclusively proven)

 Student Projects

 NASA Internship - Zachary Huffaker

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For John Brown University engineering senior, Zachary Huffaker, the words “That’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,” may not have been said in his lifetime, but still ring true as he strives to use their knowledge of complicated math and science to impact humanity.

Huffaker interned at NASA this summer for an intensive 10-week session helping the development of the space program. During his internship, he joined five different projects in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Lab in Florida. Three of the five projects involved analyzing data, modifying the mechanical structures of a robot named RASSOR (Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot) and organizing data, such as mathematical models for concrete erosion, on Project Morpheus.

Each project had a different challenge but Huffaker felt JBU prepared him well for each task.

 “A lot of people know that NASA is at the forefront of technological advancement,” Huffaker said. “It is a privilege to learn about it in class and also to see professionals living this out.” Even at a young age Huffaker knew his birthday, July 20, was special. It was the anniversary of the day Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon and spoke those timeless words. From then on, Huffaker had a natural curiosity about how things worked. “I’ve always been intrigued of how vast the universe is,” Huffaker said. “I think of the universe as God’s thumbprint on creation—you can always see him.”

Huffaker received a $6,500 Workforce Development Grant, funded by the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium that paid his trip costs and for housing at the NASA Kennedy Center. Huffaker’s work helps enable the possibility of digging regolith, an inorganic substance, from the moon. Regolith can be turned into hydrogen, oxygen and methane elements —all-important for water and rocket fuel.

 Read the full press release here.

NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition


Student Projects

 (Above: JBU Engineering students, 2012)

Student Projects

(Above: JBU Engineering students receiving their awards, 2013)

Several JBU Engineering students "Eaglenauts" compete each year in the annual NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition at Kennedy Space Center. Once again JBU was represented well by the 2013 Lunabotics team at NASA’s fourth annual Lunabotics Competition held at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In 2012, our team placed fourth overall. They brought home second in the "Systems Engineering Paper" category, third in the "Outreach Award" category, and fourth in the "Lunar Dirt Mining" category. In 2013, our team brought home awards for second in “Oral Presentation” and third in “Systems Engineering Paper” categories. 50 teams from all over the world participated in 2013 mining competition.

Check out our JBU Lunabotics Facebook Page!


Space Grant Consortium

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Audrey Dearien, Brian Plank and Zack Huffaker, represented JBU's Eaglenaut Aerospace Club at the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium event in Hot Springs, Ark. They gave a presentation about what the club is involved in and discussed projects for the future. They spoke about the rocket launch competition, being held on April 25, which includes the launching of two model rockets designed by Bentonville High School and some JBU freshmen, which will carry a payload containing sensors that will communicate to a control panel. The students were also able to listen to other students' presentations, including the JBU seniors who are participating in the NASA Robotics Mining Competition. The keynote speaker for the event was astronaut Duane Carey, who spoke about his mission to the Hubble Telescope and described how they maneuvered to it while orbiting Earth. The trip was a fun and educational experience for all the students who went and they enjoyed their time representing JBU.





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