Undergraduates were asked to submit design projects to SAME to show off your talent for innovative thinking. Winners will be recognized by SAME and all eligible entries will be marketed to SAME's private sector members to highlight your ideas.


Albert Einstein famously said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

Einstein believed we must elevate our level of thinking if we are to address the issues of our time. Whether on a local, national, or global scale, engineers can serve the public as those elevated thinkers. They provide a vital link between research and application that can lead to solutions to the pressing challenges that impact our communities, our economies, and our environment.

SAME student members represent the next generation of innovative STEM thinkers ready to take on society’s challenges. For this reason, the Society is proud to announce an undergraduate innovation challenge to identify and recognize the next great ideas.

All eligible projects will be posted on the SAME webpage and promoted to our industry members as possible R&D candidates. The top three teams will be awarded a $500 prize and be asked to present to an SAME audience.



SAME received nine submissions:

Title of Project School Name Summary
Arm for All The Citadel Develop a robotic arm that can communicate in ASL, and conduct small household and industrial tasks.
The Handy Helper The Citadel Develop a robotic arm able to communicate in ASL with multi-directional wrist action.
Vent2Go The Citadel Create a low-budget ventilator powered by a standard wall outlet, that can be used from children to large adults.
Tunnel Tech Water Tunnel The Citadel Build a portable water tunnel that can be transported from school to school to teach fluid dynamics, targeting low-income areas.
Clean Energy Deer Repellent (C.E.D.R.) Florida State University Panama City Create a device that can detect and deter deer and other animals from crossing into the path of oncoming traffic, to reduce animal/vehicle collisions.
Emergency LoRa Radio System Gulf Coast State College Create an app operated emergency radio that operates with cellular service that can be used to communicate during natural disasters.
LoraWAN Radio Design Gulf Coast State College Create an app operated emergency radio that operates without cellular service, that communicates with other radios, and can be paired with antenna for additional coverage for use in natural disasters.
[This Product] Gulf Coast State College Create a LoRa radio that allows texting between devices in a 3-mile radius, to be used during a natural disaster or other emergency situation.
A Study of Sea Level Rise and Designs for Coastal Resiliency in Boston Worcester Polytechnic Institute Prepare a sea-level rise analysis for Boston that recommends mitigation actions based on a 48" sea level increase, including flood barriers and resident relocation.




A major part of project design is communicating the project’s purpose and utility, and describing the design process to others, including colleagues, superiors, outside clients, or the general public. Effective communication is key to expressing the importance of your work to relevant stakeholders. This competition is meant to emphasize that importance. It builds on design projects you may be developing as part of degree curriculums. With a focus on the utility of the design and the ability to bring it to market, we hope to highlight the innovative thinking of SAME student members.

Submissions in this competition will be evaluated on how well they convey the purpose of the project and its technical merit. Your task is to concisely communicate your design process and demonstrate that you have used sound analysis throughout and do so in a way that is easily understandable to technical and non-technical audiences. This document will outline the expectations for each team and submission as well as the grading rubric that will be used to evaluate your work.

All eligible projects will be posted on the SAME webpage and promoted to our industry members as possible R&D candidates. The top three teams will be awarded a $500 prize and be asked to present to an SAME audience.

Team Requirements

All team members should be undergraduate-level students AND student members of SAME. Student membership in SAME is free to all students through the undergraduate level. Learn more about joining SAME as a student member.

Team sizes should have between 3-6 members. Expected submission topics will be based on capstone or design projects. All submissions must include the names of each of the team members, emails, year, and SAME membership number.



Submission 1 – Abstract Submission – 300-500 words
Your abstract should summarize the key concepts, purpose, initial conclusions, and an overview of the science or engineering principles and results from your work. Think of this as a written elevator pitch; your abstract should be able to quickly showcase the importance of the great work that you are doing along with highlighting significant supporting information and descriptions. Additional details on areas to expand on are included in the Submission Discussion Topics section.

Submission 2 – PowerPoint Presentation Submission
Your presentation will consist of 5-10 slides that will outline the progression of your design project from concept and design, to planning, to analysis, and finally to the project build itself (or calculated results if your capstone project does not involve any physical construction). Additional details on areas to expand on are included in the Submission Discussion Topics section. Your slide deck should include a 5-10 minute audio narration overlay recorded into your presentation. More detailed instructions will be provided to teams advancing to phase 2.

Where do I submit?

Teams will submit their abstract in phase 1 using the attached submission form (Download the Word and PDF versions). Teams advancing to phase 2 will be giving additional instructions for submitting their PowerPoints.

SAME reserves the right to use any portion of a team’s submission in online and print marketing. Winning teams will need to provide a headshot for SAME promotional use. Instructions will be provided.

Submission Topics Discussion

For both submissions, the following areas should be discussed concerning your projects:

  1. Introduction

    • A very brief introduction to your project, describing what it is and its significance. Assume the audience is familiar with your project
  2. Engineering and Physical Analysis

    • Provide an overview of the engineering principles that guided your work along with any pertinent results.
    • For the PowerPoint Presentation submission, present the fully formulated and solved analyses of your project
      • Include supporting assumptions, figures, and physical laws/equations used
  3. Concept Evaluation and Selection

    • Describe your concept evaluation process
    • For the PowerPoint Presentation, show and describe your chosen design concept
  4. Project Planning

    • For the PowerPoint Presentation, present your design plan from concept to build phase of the project, with incremental tasks, realistic timeline, and milestones
  5. Embodiment Design

    • Describe and illustrate the details of the final design for your project.
    • For the PowerPoint Presentation, provide relevant figures, pictures, CAD models, etc. of your final work and discuss your build process
    • Identify manufacturing methods to be utilized in creating your final product and any other assembly or implementation considerations

Timeline of Competition

  • 26 Feb 2021: Phase 1 Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 22 March 2021: Teams Advancing to Phase 2 Notified
  • 16 Apr 2021: Phase 2 PowerPoint Presentation Submission Deadline
  • 10 May 2021: Top 3 Teams Notified
  • TBD May 2021: The top three teams will be invited to present to SAME.

Three top teams will be chosen and recognized by SAME. The winning teams will receive a $500 award.



The attached rubric will be used to select the abstracts advancing to the PowerPoint phase and again to select the final three submission from the PowerPoint phase.

The review committee will be composed of SAME industry and government members, and members of the College Outreach Community of Interest.

Top 3 Submissions

If your project is selected to present, you will have the opportunity to update your PowerPoint presentation before your presentation to SAME. Use of your capstone project presentation for your school is perfectly acceptable but will need to be tailored to fit the presentation window. More presentation information will be provided when the winners are announced. Stay tuned!

Submission Grading Rubric

Category PTS
The team described their design project well and concisely 10
The team described their engineering analyses in an appropriate level of detail 10
The team followed a systematic process for evaluating and selecting their final concept 10
The team described their build process and project development well 10
The team accurately described/presented their final project well 10
The team provided an appropriate level of engineering analysis and technical detail 10
The project provides an innovative solution to an engineering problem  10
The project describes/resulted in a highly marketable product 10
The structure and grammar of the submission was professional  10
The submission was on time and included all of the required information  10
Total 100


Other Affiliated Competitions

U.S. Department Energy Geothermal Collegiate Competition (Deadline: March 9, 2021)

The U.S. Department Energy is pleased to announce the Geothermal Collegiate Competition. This spring, student teams will design direct-use concepts leveraging geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings, campuses, districts, or entire communities. Participation is free and offers students the chance to win national recognition and earn cash prizes. In addition, competitors will gain real-world renewable energy industry experience conceiving a use case, performing resource and usage assessments, and developing plans alongside community stakeholders.

A Virtual Competition Offering Real-World Experience. The Geothermal Collegiate Competition will be conducted in a 100% virtual format, presenting a great opportunity for experiential learning with no need to budget for travel.

This Field is Wide Open for Exploration. The Geothermal Collegiate Competition welcomes students from a broad spectrum of disciplines. The competition is open to students enrolled at accredited collegiate institutions regardless of preexisting knowledge or faculty advisor expertise. Teams can participate as part of a club or extracurricular activity, as a formal component of their coursework, to earn independent study credit, or within a “senior design” or “capstone” program. Additional students can join teams at any time.

Gather your Team and Start Digging in! This is a semester-long competition. Progress submissions are due March 9, 2021. Final competition submittals are due May 4, 2021.

Managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. To learn more, go to:


If you have any questions about the competition or how to submit, please contact Eddie Gonzalez, Program Manager.

Download the Word and PDF version of the submission form. Deadline is February 26, 2021.