Campus & Community

Not your average science fair

2 min read

The annual SEAS Design and Project Fair is where science and fun collide

The smell of buttery popcorn wafted across the Science Center Plaza as Harvard engineering students competed in a computer-aided robot tournament, admired a 3-D printer’s output, and even rode a lightweight go-kart that runs on minimal energy.

At the fourth annual School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Design and Project Fair on May 6, hundreds of students representing 18 Harvard courses presented projects they had worked on over the past semester or two. With fresh popcorn, candy, and a roaring crowd cheering on the battling robots, the plaza felt more like a carnival than an academic fair.

The students’ projects ranged from a 3-D printer than can make ice sculptures to a bare-bones guitar amplifier. Paul Karoff, assistant dean for communications at SEAS, said the students are sometimes encouraged to participate by faculty, but other times “really start taking the initiative themselves.”

Midway through the fair, Harry R. Lewis, the interim dean at SEAS, presented four seniors with awards for outstanding work on their final capstone projects, as judged by the engineering faculty. Another eight students were awarded honorable mentions.

John Budd ’15 (center) photographs Jenny Cheng ’16 (left) and Raquel Scheiber ’15, both in racing helmets, as Willie Pirc ’15 (bottom left) discusses the inner workings of the Crimson Cruiser at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Design and Project Fair.
Electrical wires and conductors constructed by two SEAS students amplify the sounds of an electric guitar.
Brian Mendel ’15 (left) and Ansel Duff ’15 demonstrate the guitar amplifier they designed.
A crowd gathers to watch a competition between robots designed by Harvard students.
Akeo Maifield-Carucci ’15 (left) and Shai Szulanski ’17 make adjustments to their product.
Jesus Romo serves popcorn at the SEAS Design and Project Fair.
Joe Pappas ’17 rides the Crimson Cruiser, a lightweight go-kart designed to run on minimal electrical energy.
Neon elephants produced by a 3-D printer make a bright display.
A 3-D printer at work.
Elaine Kristant, senior mechanical and systems lab engineer, discusses contouring technology in a sandbox.
Models of hands sit on a table at the Design and Project Fair.
David Abrams, visiting lecturer on engineering sciences, discusses a project with students.
Ignacio Bayardo ’17 (left), Thayer Wade ’17, and Starr Wen ’17 hold their trophies after their robot won first place in a competition.
Stephanie Warner ’15 receives one of 10 honorable mention awards for outstanding work in bioengineering from Harry R. Lewis, the interim dean at SEAS.