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Naval Academy wins 2012 capstone competition

The U.S. Naval Academy team, winners of the 2012 Boeing-sponsored Engineering Capstone competition

U. S. Naval Academy

The U.S. Naval Academy team, winners of the 2012 Boeing-sponsored Engineering Capstone competition [pictured here], designed, tested and delivered the winning fighter jet cockpit of the future. The traveling trophy presented by Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing Defense, Space & Security CEO on May 9 is proudly displayed at the academy in Annapolis, Md. The Service Academy Engineering Capstone Project Competition is an annual competition between the incumbent, U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the cadets from the U.S. Military Academy West Point.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg presented the 2012 Boeing-sponsored Service Academy Capstone competition trophy to the U.S. Naval Academy team of seniors May 9.

The class of 2012 is the second to compete in the Senior Design/Capstone Project, “Crew System of the Future – 2035,” which was conceived and developed for the three U.S. service academies. The competition focuses on “project-based learning” to enrich students’ educational experience, and challenges them to design and test a prototype crew station for a future aircraft.

U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller thanked Boeing for providing the service academies with this unique opportunity. “This project-based learning experience took the team through a real life acquisition program and provided them an extra margin of excellence, and a life-long learning experience,” he said.

Each academy’s team of 15 to 18 seniors has ownership of the design, decisions and trade studies and makes all presentations at the mid-year and final reviews. This ensures as winners, team members will know it was their design, hard work and commitment that brought home the trophy.

“What makes this Capstone project different from the other Naval Academy projects is that we brought together a team comprised of all five Engineering majors. What I learned through this experience, leading a team of peers, I will take with me in my military career and beyond.”

Teams received the 2012 project scoring criteria at the Capstone kick-off in August 2011. A panel of three Boeing representatives and one officer from each of the service academies scored the final projects last month. The winner was announced on May 3.

The U.S. Naval Academy Engineering Capstone team presented Captain Len Hamilton

U. S. Naval Academy

The U.S. Naval Academy Engineering Capstone team presented Captain Len Hamilton, Engineering Permanent Professor, with a token of appreciation for his leadership through the year-long effort to create the fighter crew system of the future. "I couldn't be prouder of this team," said Hamilton. "They took ownership of this project and remained laser-focused on the end result -- to learn the value of accomplishing a goal as a team and potentially impacting the future of flight."

“The scoring results were remarkably close,” said Peter Derenski, Boeing Technical Fellow and a Capstone project leader. “The Naval Academy team demonstrated full traceability from the requirements, through the final test, and clearly documented lessons learned. This gave them the edge needed to seal the win.”

The winning team included an international student from Algeria, Midshipman First Class Mohammed Zelmat, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and he will be commissioned in the Algerian Navy.

“What makes this Capstone project different from the other Naval Academy projects is that we brought together a team comprised of all five Engineering majors,” said Midshipman First Class Ryan Martinez. “What I learned through this experience, leading a team of peers, I will take with me in my military career and beyond.”

Boeing and the service academies share a goal to develop future leaders and build skills in science, technology, engineering and math fields. “We’re committed to preparing young men and women in these fields. Together, we can make a real difference in building those enduring leadership and technical skills” said Muilenburg.

To learn more about the U.S. Naval Academy, visit the Academy’s web site at www.usna.edu/homepage.php