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Mount Union’s Prosthetic Leg Design Takes 2nd in National Competition

June 23, 2020

ALLIANCE, Ohio — A group of senior University of Mount Union students took home second place in the national Undergraduate Design Competition as part of the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C)

The SB3C, held virtually this year, required students to submit their project abstracts in March describing the design of new devices related to rehabilitation science or assistive technologies. Accepted teams then recorded a five-minute “lightning talk” presentation for the judges and virtual attendees in May. The Mount Union group started the project in August and progressed throughout the year. 

The group was comprised of four graduating seniors from the mechanical engineering program: Matthew Honaker ’20, of Fresno, Ohio, Mashashi Nishiguchi ’20 of Adachi, Japan, Logan Palochak ’20 of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania and Hanna Wharton ’20, of Niles, Ohio. 

Photo of a 2017 prototype

“My experience working on this project was very impactful for my growth as an engineer,” said Honaker. “It applied many important skills needed in the workforce like teamwork, design and analysis. I have found the engineering program at Mount Union to be very forward thinking. My experiences prepared me for creativity, communication and innovation for my future as an engineer.”

“I have always been interested in prosthetics, so this project allowed me to gain knowledge and design a project that I was passionate about,” said Wharton. “This project was a long process, but it was very deserving. As an alumnus of Mount Union, I feel extremely prepared and excited to start my professional career as an engineer.”

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The prosthetic leg team was advised by Dr. Joshua Gargac, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “It was exciting to collaborate with the physical therapy faculty here at Mount Union to address a real-world challenge in the health-care industry,” said Gargac. “This award is a testament to the hard work put in by this team of students across the entire year. It is well deserved given how they persevered through the challenges presented by the remote learning environment.” 

The Mount Union team was named one of three finalists on June 17 and presented its final presentation on June 20.

Learn more about the prosthetic leg project and other senior design projects in Mount Union’s mechanical engineering program by visiting