St. Clair students showcased their best year-end projects at Tuesday's inaugural ONE Ford Capstone event.
The virtual event consisted of 16 groups of students presenting a project from any field, such as business, technology and the arts, to an audience of high-level executives from various companies.
Some in attendance included Air Canada, Ford Motor Company, internet service provider WaveDirect and industrial automation company AIS Technologies Group.
Sandy Ilievski, Ford's Global Powertrain Prototype Manager, said the event was a success.
“If I had to define what success would have looked like, I would have started with our students having the opportunity to showcase their talents to their community, industry leaders and family and friends,” said Ilievski. “I would have imagined that success would have included the students gaining confidence and honing in on their presenting and public speaking skills. I would have also envisioned a community coming together, dedicating their time and support to our future community leaders. That is what I saw yesterday at the ONE Ford Capstone event.”
The projects shown varied greatly. One project included two journalism students offering to create an official Ford Motor Company podcast. Another involved interior design students outlining their plans for a veterans' living space.
Waseem Habash, Vice President of Academics for St. Clair College, said the event was excellent despite it being held remotely.
“Even though we were not face to face, there was so much excitement generated. The team was able to put this together in such a remarkable way,” said Habash.
Susan Taylor, director of the Genesis Entrepreneurship Centre, said it was difficult for the organizers to narrow the number of projects down from all the submissions.
“Initially, 43 projects were submitted. And it was hard to choose how many to put forward. We also had to be conscious of the fact that it’s a very long day,” she said.
After each project was shown, the student presenters were asked questions by the judges and they had up to three minutes to further explain their concepts.
The students also had opportunities to speak to the executives on hand during a speed mentorship period.
Three projects ended up taking the top spots. First place went to a group who designed a robotic arm programmed to move industrial parts.
Second place was earned by two mobile app development students. They created an app allowing users to track their medication usage.
Lastly, third place went to a group of students who designed traffic prediction software that can be accessed by the public.
Prizes ranged from cash payouts up to $2,000 and awards given by sponsors of the event.
Taylor said the positive response from industry partners was a big contributor to ONE Ford Capstone’s success.
“I look at that as a win and mission accomplished for us, and the fact that they have expressed interest in joining us every year is a great add to the whole event.”
- Tyler Clapp