UMD Engineering Students In Southern Maryland Pathways Program Win Social, Environmental Design Impact Award for Relevant Solar-Powered Floating Aerator

CSM alumni and members of the award-winning design team, from left, Andrew Graham of Owings, Mika Tymofiy of Mechanicsville, Mike Johnson of La Plata, Erik Bazyk of Mechanicsville, Sean Thomas of Charlotte Hall and Zachary Ball of Bryans Road are congratulated by Senior Project Manager at the Office of Sustainability Mark Stewart, Director of Sustainability for the UMD Student Government Association Willem Klajbor and Dr. Vincent Nguyen, lecturer/research associate of UMD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and one of the competition’s adjudicators.

A team of engineering students, all graduates of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), have parlayed a recent success into a donation to their alma mater.

CSM 2016 grads Zachary Ball of Bryans Road, Erik Bazyk of Mechanicsville, Andrew Graham of Owings, Mike Johnson of La Plata, Sean Thomas of Charlotte Hall and Mika Tymofiy of Mechanicsville are all working toward their bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Maryland (UMD). These six students took a class together during the fall semester, a senior design class (ENME-472), in which, as a team they worked through the semester to develop and justify a product design and construct a prototype.

“Our design ‘Chessie’ is a solar-powered floating aerator designed to revive oxygen-deficient zones in large bodies of water,” Ball said. “Essentially it performs the same function as a bubbler in a fish tank.”
On Design Day, the day at the end of the semester when the teams present their design and demonstrate their prototype, the Chessie team was named the first winner of a Social/Environmental Design Impact Award. As a result of this honor, the team was recognized with a plaque that will be displayed in the mechanical engineering hallway at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In addition, the team was awarded a $100 donation that could go toward a fund of the team’s choosing. The Chessie team members unanimously chose to donate to their alma mater, CSM, with the funds to go to the college’s scholarship fund. “We thought it would be nice to give something back,” Ball said.

And that is the idea behind the award, said Dr. Vincent Nguyen, lecturer/research associate of UMD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and one of the competition’s adjudicators. “The idea is to instill and promote the concept of conscientious engineering development in our students.”

Nguyen praised the team members for the focus of their project and the teamwork they demonstrated. “Team ‘Save Chessie!’ really stood out from their competition. The general theme of the project was very locally relevant, as the environmental health of the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and the various bodies of water throughout our state have a direct impact to us here at the University of Maryland,” Nguyen said.

“This project team also went above and beyond in terms of utilizing and showcasing the resources and skills of six soon-to-be-graduates of our mechanical engineering program,” he added. “The team applied relevant engineering modeling and analysis and effectively utilized testing and the experimental facilities available on campus to develop a product design that was demonstrably viable and effective. The end design shows significant promise in its potential to improve water quality in Maryland.”

All six members of Team “Save Chessie!” are following the Southern Maryland Pathways Program in Engineering, a pathway CSM offers, in partnership with UMD to a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering. Upon completing the engineering curriculum at CSM, students may then transfer with junior status to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering at UMD. Students also have the opportunity to do an internship with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), a component command of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), with a possible employment opportunity upon successful graduation and completion of all Pathway Program requirements.

Students can take all the classes in Southern Maryland at CSM and then take classes at the SMHEC to complete their junior and senior classes with UMD.

For information about the Southern Maryland Pathways Program in Engineering, visit