University of Tennessee
TranSCEnD: Transfer Success Co-Design in Engineering Disciplines
Summer Transition Research Experience
About TranSCEnD: A team of faculty and staff from the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State Community College have developed a program intended to support academically, socially and financially students in the Tickle College of Engineering who have transferred from one of the community colleges in the state of Tennessee. The goal of TranSCEnD is to raise the graduation rates of engineering transfer students at UT to rates comparable to (or better than) students who enter the program as freshmen. TranSCEnD is funded through a grant from the S-STEM program awarded by the National Science Foundation. Interested community college students, planning to transfer to engineering at UTK can find out more about the TranSCEnD application process at http://www.engr.utk.edu/transcend/.
Summer Transition Research Experience: An important part of the TranSCEnD program is building a cohort between transfer students prior to the formal start of their classes at UTK. The photos on this page document the first summer transition research experience for the 2018 TranSCEnD cohort.
Over the course of three days, this team of students designed and built a solar thermal water heating system. They had hands-on experience with woodworking and soldering copper pipes under the guidance of Mr. Michael Allen from the Innovation and Collaboration Studio, a makerspace in the Tickle College of Engineering, and Mr. Robert Frick, aka "Professor Frick", of UTK Facility Services.
Here the team is testing the structure integrity of the wooden platform that they built for the system.
The assembled system consists of a solar collector that heats a fluid, which is circulated through a heat-exchanger in order to heat the water.
There were a number of nuanced components to the system to account for such factors as the fluctuating pressure of the system and the thermodynamics of air solubility in water as a function of temperature.
Extensive testing of the system was conducted to detect and remove leaks from the system. Here, one of the two primary engineering instructors for the summer project, Dr. Jenny "Dr. J" Retherford, photographs the team demonstrating that the system can deliver (cold) water to the shower head.
The other engineering instructor for the summer project, Mr. Chris Wetteland, introduces a sophisticated electronic controller, which could be programmed to activate a pump at an optimal temperature differential. Of course, he left the programming to the students. When the instruction manual proved convoluted, they found unambiguous instructions from youtube.
Once the system was working, the team went up to the computer laboratory to design a poster that could communicate what they had done in their project. The poster design was distributed among the team. Simon and Juan worked on their part.
Tori and Forrest worked on their part.
Michael and Andrew critiqued the results of Dr. J's photography (to much laughter).
Over lunch on the final day, the team presented their poster to members of the TranSCEnD leadership team.
After lunch, they went out and confirmed that the system could deliver a hot shower!
Here students are joined by several members of the TranSCEnD leadership team, including (from left to right):
Thanks also to the Departments of Civil Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering as well as the College administration for providing lunch over the course of the three-day project.
Send additional queries to David Keffer.