Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Pitt Undergraduates Finish in Second Place of Ergonomics Design Competition for Third Consecutive Year
Image (left to right): Second place winners Sydney Dydiw (IE), Devon Devers (IE), Diana Blasi (IE), Minsoo Kim (IE), Jada Gerz (IE), and Joel Haight

PITTSBURGH (February 8, 2018) … Undergraduate students from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering finished in second place overall for the third year in a row at the International Ergonomics Design Competition hosted by Auburn Engineers, Inc.

“We entered six teams this year, and two of them finished in the top five with one team finishing as the runner-up again,” said Joel Haight, associate professor of industrial engineering and director of Pitt’s Safety Engineering Program. Dr. Haight is faculty advisor to the Ergonomic Design Competition teams.

Throughout the fall semester, students worked on a Preliminary Design Project to identify workplace stressors and apply ergonomic design principles to alleviate them. This year’s challenge centered on improving an operating room for veterinarians treating large dogs. The Final Design Project, which the students had to complete in 48 hours, involved the evaluation and redesign of a work station at a small engine repair shop.

The Pitt teams comprised students from the departments of industrial engineering, bioengineering, chemical engineering, and psychology. According to Dr. Haight, the competition came down to the wire, with the Pitt students just barely edged out of the first place spot.

“Our students were up against graduate students at almost all of the schools, and our top team came in just behind a team of graduate students from the University of Buffalo,” noted Dr. Haight.

In addition to the two top five teams, the four other Pitt teams received honorable mentions, meaning they finished among the top 14 teams. A total of 28 teams competed, including students from the University of Michigan, Auburn University, Texas A&M, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Mexico), Virginia Tech, Concordia, and others.

In response to the success of Pitt’s undergraduate students’ performance over the past three years, David C. Alexander, president of Auburn Engineers and competition director, collaborated with Dr. Haight to write a joint paper about the competition and its contribution to education.

“We submitted the paper to the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers’ annual conference in Orlando, and it’s been accepted. We will talk about the competition and industrial engineering education at Pitt to conference attendees this May,” said Dr. Haight.

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Image (left to right): Top five finishers Dr. Haight, Rip Rucker (IE), Lauren Czerniak (IE), Sean Callaghan (IE), and Connor Bomba (IE)
Image (left to right): Dr. Haight, James Oosten (BioE), Katelyn Axman (BioE), and Matt Astbury (BioE)
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Image (left to right): Dr. Haight, Mackenzie Cavanaugh (IE), Aster Chmielewski (IE), Tom Kramer (IE), and Chris Herrick (IE)
Image (left to right): Matt Jones (Psy), Charlie Gates (IE), and Dr. Haight, missing from photo: Jack Clark (ChemE)
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Image (left to right): Evan Poska (IE), Matt Hoge (IE), Chris C.J. Luther (IE), and Dr. Haight

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Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer, 2/8/2018

Contact: Paul Kovach