Rodriguez, who now works for United Technologies in Brownsville as a design engineer, won the award and $1,000 for his senior design project presentation, titled "Design of a Forming Die for Motor Housing" at the 3rd Annual Student Manufacturing Design Competition sponsored by the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineering) Manufacturing Engineering Division, held at the 1997 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Dallas on Nov. 20.
His project was supervised by Dr. Subhash Bose and Dr. Rajiv Nambiar of UT Pan American's manufacturing engineering program and Arthur Larson, plant manager at United Technologies.
Bose said the senior design course is the culmination of a student's four years of study in engineering.
"It's called the capstone senior design course, and having national recognition for our senior design course, that really tells the credibility of our program, because students use what they have learned during all four years," he said.
Past winners have included the University of Massachusetts campuses in Amherst and Dartmouth. "There were some big universities competing, but this year our students were able to come up with the top winners," Bose said.
A team of two other UT Pan American students, both of whom also graduated from UT Pan American's mechanical engineering program in fall 1996, were finalists along with four other teams from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.
The two UT Pan American graduates, Fernando Medina and Yvette Leal, did a project on "Design and Development of a Mesquite Seed Processor," sponsored by the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge and supervised by faculty members Bose and Dr. Robert Jones. Medina is currently employed with Lockheed International in Houston and Leal works at at Johnson Controls in McAllen.