Sandia National Labs Academic Alliance Collaboration Report 2020-2021


Michelle Pang and Karl Walczak

bring to the design challenge,” says Michelle Pang, co-lead and mentor for the 2020 Senior Design Bonanza. “I enjoy witnessing how they utilize their resources to refine ideas based on analysis and experimentation, and to produce their final physical or conceptual prototype.” Co-lead and mentor, Karl Walczak, was similarly impressed with the students’ final projects. “It’s been interesting to see how teams approach the problem and develop designs throughout the year despite build-and-test limitations due to the global pandemic. The students adapted to the situation and finished strong.” The change to a virtual final event didn’t alter the quality of the student presentations, which were top notch. “We were really impressed with the students’ projects and how they overcame many obstacles due to COVID-19,” says Pang. “They all showed resilience and delivered great results.” While all teams excelled, Team Aggie Switch (N.C. A&T) won the Most Innovative Design Award; Team Texas Launch Horns (UT Austin) won Best Use of (Computational) Modeling and Simulation; and Team Sandia Dawgs (UGA) won Most Scalable and Adaptable Design. For the 2021 academic year, the Sandia Bonanza team is creating a more multidisciplinary design challenge that represents real-world engineering applications and allows more universities to participate. “I’m optimistic about how we can grow the program,” Pang concluded. “The Bonanza benefits the universities and students who participate, and Sandia benefits by providing a future workforce with experience on the types of R&D problems that are relevant to our missions.”

Michelle Pang and Karl Walczak from Sandia helped guide the Third Annual Senior Design Bonanza at UT Austin. They are both big proponents of helping to provide educational experiences for university students and invest significant time in leading events such as these.


2020-2021 Collaboration Report

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