UVU Mechanical Engineering Students Win National Championship

Utah Valley University celebrates two firsts. A team of UVU mechanical engineers was named best in the nation at  the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) national competition last weekend, and UVU also celebrates the first graduating class from its Department of Engineering this week.

At ASME, each team was tasked with designing and constructing a drone that could pick up a payload and deliver it safely to a designated location.

UVU teams flew into first place over teams from the University of Michigan (second place), North Carolina State University (third place), and Brigham Young University. Competing Wolverines included mechanical engineering students Rodrigo Osorno, Logan Sanford, Shawn Weeks, and Bryce Prestwich.

“Some of the universities we went up against have well-established engineering programs, where with us we are just getting our first graduates this semester,” Sanford said. “We definitely came in as the underdogs.”

Knowing the caliber of the other schools competing, the team worked hard to perfect their drone within a limited timeframe.

“This is very exciting and rewarding,” said Masood Amin, an associate professor of engineering at UVU. “It is the first national award received by a team from our new engineering programs at UVU. Knowing the quality of our students and programs, we expect more national champions in the near future.”


The winning drone design included lightweight 3D-printed components, two cameras for increased visibility and specialized handles to ensure safe pickup and delivery of items. UVU students paid close attention to detail and designed a type of joint that minimizes damage and repair costs in the event of a crash.

The team built the drone in just over two months after officially forming UVU’s ASME chapter in January. Each week they would 3D-print new components and test them for strength, agility, and endurance.

“I was so glad our efforts paid off — what a great way to end the first semester of the UVU ASME Chapter,” Osorno said. “We could not have had a more perfect team, and I'm so thankful to them.”

The design of the drone evolved to become optimal at performing the tasks required by the competition, the team said. They also credit the drone’s ability to drive and land as a competitive advantage.

Earlier in the semester, the team filmed an entry video showcasing the drone’s abilities. The drone can be seen navigating obstacles with ease and readily performing the tasks required by the competition. The drone has a remote controller and headset for the pilot who can toggle between the two cameras onboard the drone. The team affectionately named the drone Lucy.

The entry video was filmed prior to the COVID-19 precautions. The results were delivered in a virtual conference since teams were unable to travel to Michigan for the event. The event featured online breakout sessions with industry leaders and the opportunity for engineering students around the world to network, build their resume, and celebrate their passion for engineering.

Amin had the opportunity to teach these students in several classes over their time in the mechanical engineering program at UVU. “Our students worked hard, and I am very proud of them,” he said. “They are very bright and talented. I know for sure they will be excellent engineers.”

UVU offers degrees in civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering and is currently raising funds for a new building to accommodate the needs of a growing number of students in our engineering programs. To learn more or make a gift, please visit the College of Engineering & Technology website.