Engineering Student Awarded Engaged Learning Grant

Mechanical Engineering student with motor 

The Utah Valley University Board of Trustees recently awarded the Engaged Learning Scholarship to mechanical engineering senior, Chandler Flinders. This year, the prestigious award was given to only two UVU students. Flinders earned the scholarship for his work on the Baja all-wheel drive project, along with his faculty advisor, Dr Matt Jensen.


Flinders was named one of the recipients due to the scope of his project and the opportunity for real-world applications. The project received $6000 in funding, which will go towards research and production costs.


“I am excited to have been selected as a recipient of the Engaged Learning Grant,” Flinders said. “I view this as rare opportunity, to simultaneously have access to the resources in the UVU Mechanical Engineering program and funds with which to materialize what would otherwise be just an idea in my head.”

Mechanical engineering student in lab


The Baja all-wheel drive project began with a group of mechanical engineering students that were preparing to compete in the annual SAE Mini Baja Engineering Design Competition. The regional competition tasks engineering students to design and build a small off-road vehicle. Although Flinders and a team of engineering students completed their vehicle, the competition was ultimately cancelled this year due to COVID-19.


Flinders applied for the Board of Trustees award with the intent of securing funding to improve the vehicle for next year’s competition. He plans to research and test an innovative drivetrain concept that will decrease the weight, complexity, and the cost of the component. This will increase the vehicle’s overall efficiency and speed. In the past, competitors with low weight and high efficiency components have been the most successful.


Additionally, the technology he will be developing could have many applications in the automotive industry. All-wheel drive, consumer SUV’s and recreational vehicles may benefit from this research.

 Mechcanical Engineering Student holding vehicle part


Flinders is a senior in the mechanical engineering program. He started at UVU studying pre-engineering and transferred to mechanical engineering when UVU introduced the new program. His passion for engineering started at a young age.


“I’ve been one of those lucky people that has been pretty confident that engineering was the right field for me from really early on,” he said. “I have always been good at building and working with my hands. I started really young helping my dad finish our basement and doing simple car repairs. In high school I started designing and building my own longboards from scratch.”


Flinders currently works at Hall Labs, an Engineering company in South Provo. With the high quality education he is receiving at UVU and the professional experience he has gained, Flinders is well prepared for the industry upon graduation. He hopes to go on to build high performance products and lead engineering projects in the recreational vehicle industry.


“I get a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I can help an idea come to life,” Flinders said. “I hope to someday own a facility with the machines and resources necessary to easily prototype and build my ideas and to help others bring their ideas into reality as well.”


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