Hill, Weber State collaborate on capstone event

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In a collaboration with Weber State University, Hill Air Force base hosted its annual Capstone Collider event March 30, with faculty members attending from universities throughout Utah, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada.

The Capstone Collider event is organized by the Air Force Sustainment Center engineering staff and is designed to give university students the opportunity to take on real-world Air Force challenges for their senior capstone projects. In conjunction with the Capstone Collider, a number of university guests participated in a tour of Hill for a behind the scenes look at the technical side of the base.

“This event is part of a wider effort to seek out, develop, and nurture Educational Partnership Agreements with local and out-of-state universities to promote collaboration and mutually benefitting engagements,” said Gregory Gabbott, AFSC Engineering educational partnership and functional training manager.

Gabbott said many universities offer capstone design programs, which match a team of motivated senior undergraduate mechanical engineering students with an engineering project defined and funded by an industry sponsor. A student’s capstone project in college is the “completion marker” of course work leading to the culmination of their program with a degree in their chosen field of study.

Partnerships between the Air Force and local and regional universities have recently been forged. Hill AFB currently has signed EPAs with Weber State University, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and University of Nevada Las Vegas, with EPAs in work for Utah State University, University of Arizona, and others. These EPAs encourage partnership that can include seminars and student presentations, internships and mentorships, loaning and sharing of equipment, capstone projects, and tours.

“Faculty members from these universities are briefed by experienced Hill engineers who have identified challenges that could be suited for senior capstone projects,” Gabbott said. “University student teams will then help tackle these project challenges during the coming academic year, and provide us with their new and innovative solutions, while individually working toward completion of their respective degrees.”

Possible projects include such diverse topics as detecting corrosion on coated metal surfaces, mathematical modeling of the “spring back” of parts formed in fluid presses, aircraft behavior models to use in a simulation environment, and long-term care of aging facilities.

“Hill Air Force Base is excited to participate in the capstone ideation session in providing student-level challenges,” said Col. Michael Warner, commander of Air Force Sustainment Center Engineering in the Ogden ALC. “It’s a great opportunity for students to engage in meaningful challenges, to interact with Hill personnel on a professional level, and to get a glimpse of how rewarding working for the government can be, which in-turn may lead to interest in joining Team Hill upon graduation.”