Davis wins campus-wide photo competition
After advancing to the finals by winning the “Campus Sustainability” subcategory, Davis was announced as the people's choice winner. He submitted two entries—one of discarded bicycles titled “Full Cycle” and one of an Abbott Power Plant tour titled “Powering Change,” which was named the winner.
The Powering Change picture shows Senior Plant Engineer at the Abbott power plant, Mike Brewer, explaining to Teaching Associate Professor Leon Liebenberg’s TAM 335 (Fluid Mechanics) students the rudiments of steam power plant operation. The students were then also given a real fluid mechanics problem to solve, and which Abbott power plant engineers have been battling with for a while now. The students had six weeks to address the pumping problem, working in small teams.
Powering Change description: “In this image, students take a tour of the Abbott Power Plant in Champaign, which produces electricity and steam heating for University buildings. Students in departments including Civil to Mechanical Engineering were able to smell the natural gas, feel the direct heat of boilers, and observe damaged sections of the plant students, learning far more than what is possible in a classroom. They witnessed the true costs of fossil fuels, but also discovered the reasons why they still must be used in the world today. In striving towards a carbon free Illinois, this solid grasp on the current state of fossil-fuel power generation is crucial. From it, students are better equipped to ideate and develop new green solutions which consider challenges from cost to efficiency to reliability.”
Full Cycle description: “Many students contribute to sustainable transportation by cycling on a daily basis. Located at Mack’s Twin Cities Recycling in Urbana, this image may appear to represent a failure in sustainability. However, my learning experience in ME270 allows me to think differently – I see it as a challenge and a reminder. Firstly, it is a challenge to consider what led to these bikes to being discarded. Are there specific design considerations which could prolong their life or make them easier to recycle? Conversely, could they be designed to better fit the needs of the rider and of the community, as to promote safe and regular use? These questions reveal how interconnected each product consideration truly is, from the technical design to the humans who will use it. In this way, we are reminded that behind every engineering solution, there is not just a problem, but there is a person. We should not ask the question of how to build the best bike, but now to build the best bike for a specific community. This human-centered approach, which is all too often overlooked in the engineering process, is the difference between the bike path and the landfill.”
In the competition criteria, the organizers said, “We want to see what learning looks like through your eyes! We invite you to sharpen your visual communication skills, and get prizes and recognition for it, and also get that great, personal image that will help you stand out from the crowd. Digital storytelling has become an essential skill to communicate ideas clearly and effectively. We hear from employers all the time that they are seeking people across all disciplines who have that creative mindset. Whether you’re in mechanical engineering or crop sciences, social work or microbiology, business or modern languages, if you know how to tell a story, reveal something of your inner world in a single image, or think critically about the great human endeavor to know that is learning, we want to give you the opportunity to challenge yourself. We hope your insights and perspectives will also inspire a greater awareness of the intrinsic value of the on-campus experience, here at Illinois.”
The photo submissions were judged on originality, visual impact, and relevance to the “This Learning Life” theme.