Wisconsin Alpha Theta

University of Wisconsin - Platteville
Platteville, WI 53818

Charter Date   April 23, 1993

Chapter No.   153

Advisor   Dr. Thomas Zolper

Chapter Status

Annual Chapter Reports

Wisconsin Alpha Theta

A petition, dated October 22, 1992, for a Pi Tau Sigma chapter charter was submitted to Pi Tau Sigma by faculty and students at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, in Platteville, Wisconsin. Dr. Tamer Ceylan worked diligently in getting the petition processed and the installation organized. Eighteen students and eleven faculty member endorsed the petition, including Dr. Richard Strunk, chairman of the department. The petition was enthusiastically supported also by Dean Ronald Yeske

On April 23, 1993 Wisconsin Alpha Theta was officially installed by President, Dr. S. P. Kezios, Central Regional Vice President, Dr. Prasana Kadaba, and National Secretary Treasurer; Dr. Edwin Griggs. Thirty-two students were initiated as charter members.


ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS

 

2019-2020, Michael Nelson, President

Although unconventional, this year was an exciting one for our chapter. At University of Wisconsin-Platteville, our chapter is small—only 10-15 active members. Due to our small numbers, we were busy with this year’s project and attending the national convention. Our chapter, Wisconsin Alpha Theta, designs and builds a unique project each academic year. This year, our team chose to build our own spring-powered softball pitching machine. There are several models available for purchase online; however, we felt that these designs were inadequate in terms of safety, adjustability, and overall power. We redesigned from the ground up considering portability, usability, safety, accuracy, and pitching distance.

Our first change was to upgrade from one spring to two to balance the machine and increase power. The trigger mechanism was also improved to allow the user to lock the throwing arm back easily and safely. The throwing cup was the biggest step forward for our chapter. At the Pi Tau Sigma national convention, we learned about Autodesk Fusion 360’s generative design feature. This concept allows the computer to come up with potentially hundreds of different variations of the same generic component, allowing the engineer to prioritize manufacturability, weight, and strength while maintaining required geometry. This allowed us to come up with an advanced throwing cup design for our pitching machine significantly faster than anyone on our team could have come up with by themselves. The cup is adjustable to different positions along the length of the throwing arm to change both throwing distance and velocity.

All of this is possible with the support of our sponsor, the Oshkosh Corporation. Our chapter has initiated and maintained a strong, healthy relationship with this company over the last three years. Oshkosh helps us in design decisions, project scheduling, and construction guidance. Every week, a team of engineers, some of whom are UW-Platteville alumni, meet remotely with members of our design team to discuss different aspects of our annual project. The project is all geared towards the annual UW-Platteville Engineering, Math, and Science Expo in the middle of the spring semester. Sadly, this year’s Expo was cancelled due to the pandemic. However, the team had already completed most of the project before the campus was shut down. We were disappointed that we were unable to present our final product at the Expo, but we are eager to present both this year’s and next year’s projects at the spring 2021 Expo.

In addition to the project, seven of members flew out to Rochester, NY in January of this year to attend the annual Pi Tau Sigma National Convention. We all really enjoyed the tours, speakers, and great atmosphere that the RIT chapter provided us. We really appreciate all the hard work that went into such an effort and are glad that we were able to attend such a gathering.

Figure 1: Wisconsin Alpha Theta Fall 2019 Initiates, Executive Board, and Advisor. Left to right, Evan (Vice President), Rachel, Seth, Sam, Erik, Dr. Zolper (Advisor), Ryan, Eric, Austin (Treasurer), and Michael (President)
Figure 1: Wisconsin Alpha Theta Fall 2019 Initiates, Executive Board, and Advisor. Left to right, Evan (Vice President), Rachel, Seth, Sam, Erik, Dr. Zolper (Advisor), Ryan, Eric, Austin (Treasurer), and Michael (President)
Figure 2: Wisconsin Alpha Theta Spring 2020 Initiates, Executive Board, and Advisor. Left to right, Austin (Treasurer), Michael (President), Claire (Secretary), Evan (Vice President), Dr. Zolper (Advisor), Ryan, Connor, Emma, Marlene, and Anton.
Figure 2: Wisconsin Alpha Theta Spring 2020 Initiates, Executive Board, and Advisor. Left to right, Austin (Treasurer), Michael (President), Claire (Secretary), Evan (Vice President), Dr. Zolper (Advisor), Ryan, Connor, Emma, Marlene, and Anton.

2018-2019 Andrew Splitt, President

During the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 academic year at University of Wisconsin Platteville, Wisconsin Alpha Theta chapter focused on developing the organization to appeal to more university students in two ways: marketing the strong leadership and experience of the executive board; and offering meaningful design projects to enhance their engineering abilities. Pi Tau Sigma held 9 general meetings that occurred monthly, gathering all members of the organization. The general meetings consisted of: completing any paperwork or voting required on a national and chapter level; and serving as a time for networking and socialization between the members. Our chapter also held design meetings at least once every week throughout the academic year. The design team(s) attending these meetings were member volunteers from the organization that wanted to enhance their experience in the engineering profession by working together to brainstorm, design, fabricate, test, and display a project of the organization’s selection. The project is displayed at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s annual Engineering Expo event that is visited by over a thousand local middle and high school students every spring.

The project theme chosen for this 2018-2019 academic year was a electrically powered go-kart. The technology featured was a electrically regenerative braking system that was applied to an old ASME go-kart. Powered by a 2 kW motor, Pi Tau Sigma used a controller to convert the motor to an electric generator upon flipping a switch to initiate the electric regeneration system. This allows the current to reverse inside the motor and instead of taking electrical energy from the battery, the motor sends energy from the axle back to the battery causing the go-kart to slow down. This project was sponsored by Oshkosh Corporation (a Fortune 500 company). Oshkosh Corporation provided monetary funding as well as support throughout the Spring 2019 semester with the manufacturing process and electrical industry knowledge. Our chapter held about 10 design-specific meetings with representatives from Oshkosh Corporation. The final product was designed and produced by our organization throughout the 2018-2019 academic school year. This final product was presented at the facilities of Oshkosh Corporation on Monday, April 29th, 2019.

This connection to Oshkosh Corporation has established a STEM program to help elementary to high school students in northeastern Wisconsin learn about STEM and want to pursue careers in the field. Pi Tau Sigma’s current and previous projects are displayed in the newly-built STEM bay at Oshkosh Corporation’s headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Through this connection, Pi Tau Sigma students are given opportunities inside the organization.

In addition to project involvement, our chapter also attended the 2019 National Convention in Fort Collins, Colorado. Six representatives (E-board and two design team members) from the organization were sent to represent the chapter. In addition, the organization held multiple speakers from John Deere, as well as taking tours of both Woodward, Inc and Phoenix Nuclear Labs. Tours and speakers were open to all members of Pi Tau Sigma, while the design team members lead the electrical regenerative system project for Oshkosh Corporation.

 

2017-2018 Zander Gunderson, President

          During the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 academic year at University of Wisconsin Platteville, Wisconsin Alpha Theta chapter focused on developing the organization to appeal to more university students in two ways: marketing the strong leadership and experience of the executive board; and offering meaningful design projects to enhance their engineering abilities. Pi Tau Sigma held 9 general meetings that occurred monthly, gathering all members of the organization. The general meetings consisted of: completing any paperwork or voting required on a national and chapter level; and serving as a time for networking and socialization between the members. Our chapter also held design meetings at least once every week throughout the academic year. The design team(s) attending these meetings were member volunteers from the organization that wanted to enhance their experience in the engineering profession by working together to brainstorm, design, fabricate, test, and display a project of the organization’s selection. The project is displayed at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s annual Engineering Expo event that is visited by over a thousand local middle and high school students every spring.

            The project theme chosen for this 2017-2018 academic year was hydraulic powered machines. The main project was a hydraulic regenerative braking system that was applied to a street bike. This project was sponsored by Oshkosh Corporation (a Fortune 500 company). Oshkosh Corporation provided monetary funding as well as support throughout the Spring 2018 semester with the manufacturing process and hydraulic industry knowledge. Our chapter held about 10 design-specific meetings with representatives from Oshkosh Corporation. The final product was designed and produced by our organization throughout the 2017-2018 academic school year. This final product was presented at the facilities of Oshkosh Corporation on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018.

            Our second project was a hydraulic powered claw machine. This project was a smaller, additional project for some of the new initiates to take a larger role on a project outside of coursework. The project consisted of a 3D printed claw that picked up candy inside of a designed wooden-frame, rectangular container with acrylic sheets as viewing windows. The claw was powered by four separate tube lines to move the claw appropriately in the -x, -y, and -z directions as well as opening/closing of the claw.

            In addition to project involvement, our chapter also attended the 2018 National Convention in Miami, Florida. Two representatives (President and Treasurer) from the organization were sent to represent the chapter. The two representatives attended the various events that the national convention offered this year, such as: business meetings with national chapter advisors, an Engineering Futures presentation, the sponsored Autodesk design competition, lab tours through facilities at the University of Miami, and the keynote speaker, Dr. Yvonne Cagle, MD.

            In terms of fundraising and extra activities, our organization held a hotdog sale. The was to raise funds to send more members to the national convention in 2019. As well, our chapter attended a company plant tour, hosted by 3M, and hosted a guest speaker from Jacobs Engineering company.