Major accomplishments at CMU

Students show off skills they've learned in their fields of study

From left, mechanical-engineering students Jackson Shaw, Garren Atchley, Angelica Wise and Dennis Tobin present their drone project at Colorado Mesa University’s Student Showcase, at the Delta Quad, on Friday afternoon. The drone can be controlled by remote or with onboard controls. It also has two blades on each corner, with a total of eight blades spinning in opposite directions to give the drone more power and stability when it flies. The project began in January.

Nearly 500 Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College students displayed projects, papers and research related to their majors Friday afternoon at the fifth-annual Student Showcase on the CMU campus.

WCCC manufacturing and machining students Garren Atchley, Jackson Shaw and Angelica Wise and process systems technology student Dennis Tobin showed off a drone they built using a 3-D printer, two cameras and a system that allows a control to communicate with the drone to tell it where to fly autonomously on a pre-programmed route. The drone remained grounded on a table at Delta Field during the showcase due to a system malfunction, but Tobin said the group has gotten the drone to fly in the past and hopefully will again soon.

The drone is designed for use in agriculture.

“You could count livestock, learn about the condition of your crops, all in real-time data,” Tobin said.

Wise said an agricultural drone is a timely project, given she has heard that the use of drones for agricultural purposes will increase 70 percent over the next decade. She said using a drone is faster and cheaper than trying to rent a plane to examine a whole field for a damaged area.

“A drone can pinpoint where to spray” crops, she said.

Over at the University Center, psychology students Roger Claeys, Sarah Hays, and A.J. Meil focused on a crop, too, as they presented a research study about the use and perception of marijuana before and after Amendment 64 became legal Jan. 1 and made marijuana use legal in Colorado for people 21 and older. The trio said they used Facebook and university connections to get 846 college-age people to take an online survey they created. Survey respondents were asked how often they used marijuana, whether they used it in combination with alcohol, and how they perceived Amendment 64 both before and after the amendment took effect — once in November and again in February.

Most participants were Colorado Mesa students, most were white, 78 percent were female and 60 percent were of one religion (Christian), which may have skewed the results, the students said, but they were still intrigued by the results, which showed men were more likely than women to use alcohol and marijuana together. Those who never used marijuana had the most favorable views of Amendment 64, and people who either used marijuana daily or never were the most likely to know about the effects of marijuana.

“We expected that because those who use it daily or never use it have made a definitive choice” about marijuana, versus casual users, Meil said.

In Wubben Hall and Science Center, Colorado Mesa/University of Colorado Mechanical Engineering partnership seniors Kristopher Sharpe, Skyler Ogden and Steve Beaulieu displayed the fruits of an energy use monitoring project. The three installed temperature, energy use and energy cost monitoring systems in multiple Mesa County buildings and helped the county determine when it was wasting energy. The most surprising find, Sharpe said, was the potential for saving $1,000 per year at the new Mesa County Workforce Center building by turning heating and air-conditioning off on weekends.

“I learned that even if someone says it’s as good as it can get, it can always be better,” Sharpe said.


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