July is supposed to be the hottest and sunniest month of the year in Turin, Italy. However, students attending the PACE Annual Forum competed against wind and rain in the test phase of the Personal Assisted Mobility Device (PAMD) challenge.
That was nothing for New Mexico State University (NMSU) student engineer Colt Capurro who wrestles steers in his spare time. He notes: “I came for the rodeo but stayed for the engineering”
Colt shares more about his PACE experience in this video interview and the Q&A below.
What do like most about engineering?
“The biggest thing I like about engineering is that it combines some of my favorite classes from high school (agricultural mechanics and math). Now not only do we design and build elements, we also understand the science behind why things work and how to improve others so that they will. I look back now at my senior year in high school – and the projects we made in the shop – and the reasons behind a few of our failures are very transparent.”
What was it like collaborating with students from all over the world?
“It was very challenging. Communication as many would guess was definitely the most difficult part. My team and the team from Mexico are only an hour apart but the rest of the schools are several hours apart as far as time zones go so that was the major issue. We also had an issue in that many of the members don’t speak English as their first language and often had a hard time understanding what we meant or conveying their ideas to us.”
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned from participating in PACE?
“In any organization – no matter how big or small – it is important early on to define the modes of operation on the project. For our team, it would have saved many lost hours in meetings due to confusion and work that was considered inaccurate. I believe defining these modes would have helped keep very necessary members to the team in full contact. This was an issue I did not see coming into the project in the second year until it was too late. But this lesson is one that I will use fully in the future.”
Colt also noted in NMSU PACE Team Develops Mobile Transportation Device:
“You can’t just design and go directly to manufacturing; there are many steps to the design process that have to be validated and tested,” he said, adding that the PACE project gives students real-world experience.
What’s next for you now that the PAMD competition is over?
“I think I will join the next PACE project here at NMSU, hopefully helping to get it going in a winning direction before I graduate next May with my degree in Mechanical Engineering. After that I am not sure what engineering industry I would like to go into. As the saying goes the opportunities are endless.”
Colt and fellow industrial engineering students recently won first place in NMSU’s College of Engineering student capstone poster competition. At the PACE Annual Forum, he also passed the NX certification exam.
Follow Colt and the NMSU rodeo team on Facebook. Stay tuned here for more from the PACE Annual Forum.