Six Techies Explore Career Options At HENAAC Conference

SOCORRO, N.M. October 18, 2010 – Six New Mexico Tech mechanical engineering students attended the annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corp., or HENAAC, conference in Orlando from October 7 to 9.
 Tyler Bushnell with Alex Plonczak (right) at his poster presentation at the HENAAC Conference in Orlando.

Tyler Bushnell won third place in the Undergraduate Technology and Engineering Poster Competition. He presented his research into Vertical Axis Wind Turbines, which was an offshoot of his senior design clinic research project.

Bushnell ran computer simulations and wind tunnel tests on several different airfoil designs for vertical axis wind turbines. His goal was to find an airfoil that functions well in an urban setting, and is much different from rural, mass-producing wind turbine airfoils.

Other students who attended were Alex Plonczak, Austin Silva, Nick Schafer, Daniel Vickers and Erica Summers. Plonczak said the HENAAC conference is unique in that future employers interact with students in what is called the College Bowl.

College Bowl participants are drafted just like any sport but this is based on an interaction of less than 20 seconds. Students must sell themselves as energetic, outgoing and creative.
New Mexico Tech students enjoy an evening at Disney Land in Orlando during the HENAAC Conference. From left are Tyler Bushnell, Austin Silva, Nick Schafer, Daniel Vickers, Erica Summers, and Alex Plonczak.

Event sponsors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Chevron and Disney lead the teams on engineering and management projects. Company officials help students refine their resumés Thursday. On Friday the

College Bowl participants competed in innovative competitions, creating skits, songs and futuristic products while keeping science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines in mind. 

The conference also included numerous interesting seminars, Plonczak said, including, “The Science of Spying and Engineering Espionage” presented by the CIA and “NASA Employment and Co-op Opportunities.” 

A major highlight of the conference was the Career Fair on Saturday. Plonczak said students were able to talk to future employers and make important contacts.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech