George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Four teams of Mason Engineering students win cash prizes in first annual 60-second video contest

February 21, 2018   /   by Nanci Hellmich

Two teams of engineering students who created videos about their new product ideas—an impact surveillance system and a prosthetic arm tool­­—won first place prizes in Mason Engineering’s first annual 60-second video contest. Both groups received $500 at an awards ceremony on Friday.

Second place winners: Students with Mason Engineers for International Development who created a video explaining the group’s contributions to a low-income housing project in Nicaragua and Mason’s SciTech Robotics team members whose video detailed a behind-the-scenes look at how they work. Those groups received $250 each.

Making the videos was fun but challenging. “We wanted to bring out our marketing chops a little bit and try to make the product look as professional as possible,” says Kevin Zhu, a freshman in electrical engineering whose team designed the prosthetic arm tool. The group spent more than 20 hours on the video.

SciTech Robotics team member Matthew Reichley, a junior in mechanical engineering, says finding time to create the video was difficult but actually doing it “was fun. It was a good time.”

Here's how the winners plan to spend their award money:

  • The impact surveillance system team members will use the cash prize to buy some of the sensors needed to build a physical model of their project, says Amir Mukashev, a systems engineering and operations research student who graduates in 2019.  The group wants to turn their idea into a start-up company.
  • The students who designed a prosthetic arm tool, the iLift, have several several different engineering projects they'll fund,  Zhu says.
  • Mason Engineers for International Development will invest the money in their philanthropic projects including the housing project in Nicaragua and a bridge project in Toms Creek, Virginia, along the Tuscarora Trail, says Andrew Simpson, a senior in civil engineering.
  • The robotics team is putting its prize money toward the costs of attending the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky in April, Reichley says.

Senior Associate Dean Stephen Nash and Martha Bushong, director of communications and external affairs came up with the idea for the video contest. A committee of faculty and staff selected the winners.

"We are excited about what our students are doing, and we want to tell their stories,” Nash says. “Today one of the best ways to do that is through video. It’s the language of social media.”

Bushong agrees. “The videos are a way of community building because many students don’t know what other students are doing.”

The best video projects reflected students’ ability to compress their thoughts into a concise, easy-to-understand product, she says.

Members of the winning groups include:

Impact surveillance system team—Amir Mukashev, Arian Amini, Lena Elhajj, Samantha Remer, Megan Taylor.

The iLift prosthetic arm tool team—Kevin Zhu, Ahmed Elgazar, Rick Foltz, Demetrios Soutsos.

Mason Engineers for International Development—Andrew Simpson, Eden Beth DeVera, Anna Close, Badana Mohamadi, Jack Scherer, Michael Schindler, Omar Azizi, Min Lu Durham. Faculty advisors: Matt Doyle and Liza Wilson Durant.

SciTech Robotics—Josef Spanbauer, Payton Blodgett, Bradley Christianson, Matthew Reichley, Andrew Bender, Afnan Ali.