Mechanical engineering students excel in national competition

Wu Launh ’22


Andrew Cahaly '22

Andrew Cahaly ’22


Union’s mechanical engineering students have been busy these days – busy winning national competitions, that is.

Wu Cennda Launh ’22 and Andrew Cahaly ’22 recently (March 25-26) clinched first place honors in the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Old Guard Competition.

Both won oral competition portions of the event, which emphasizes the value of delivering clear, concise and effective oral presentations, particularly pertaining to some sphere in which an engineer is or should be involved.

The experience, while held on Zoom this year, was amazing for both students.

“I love to present in front of an audience and I will take any chance I get to do so. Even though I get nervous, having the opportunity to be heard is the most rewarding piece,” Launh said. “It helps me reach out to so many people. Being recognized with an award, I feel relieved that I could make my parents proud and their sacrifice to bring me to America was all worth it.”

“I was greatly honored to receive the award and did not expect it,” Cahaly added. “As a transfer student who started at a community college (Northern Essex Community College), I was honored to have represented both Union and my community college well at an event with competitors from around the world.”

Launh discussed “Investigating Embryonic Flexure and Torsion by using Finite Element Analysis,” while Cahaly discussed “Simulating Flow through Aerogel Materials for Catalytic Converter Applications.”

Cahaly, who also received technical honors for his presentation, credited the Mechanical Engineering Department with providing so many ways to learn and succeed.

“The projects in many of the classes are designed to give students experience with academic papers, research and technical writing,” he said. “Of course, my senior research project also prepared me extremely well for the kind of work I’ll be doing in graduate school.”

Launh echoed these sentiments.

“As a mechanical engineering student at a liberal arts institution, I’ve had the opportunity to take classes with diverse groups of students. I learned to adapt to my class environment so that I can convey my findings or ask questions in a way that my listeners can understand me,” Launh said. “I am able to speak about my research from both a technical and general perspective. With the people I have met and the friends I have made, I’ve learned how to reach out and have my voice be heard.”

Following graduation this June, Cahaly will attend Cornell University, where he’ll pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on computational fluid dynamics. His goal is to become a professor.

Launh intends to go into the field of computational modeling, first with a job in the industry and then later in graduate school. As a newly naturalized American citizen, she might even apply for a Fulbright eventually, too.

In additional news of note, mechanical engineering majors Zoe Lyon ’22 and Hayden Qualls ’22 presented at the American Chemical Society conference in San Diego recently. Lyon discussed “Development of WS2 Based Electrochemical Sensor for VOCs Detection,” while Qualls focused on “Fabrication of Graphene Based Humidity Sensors.”