CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0012
Release: May 7, 1999
UI students engineer trip to France
IOWA CITY, Iowa Four University of Iowa students
recently spent their spring break in France, not sight-seeing, but consulting
with their French classmates as part of a Virtual International Design class
to build smart workstations.
The four UI students are: Amanda Ennis, mechanical engineering
senior from Taylorville, Ill.; Elizabeth Youngwirth, mechanical engineering
senior from LuVerne, Iowa; Adam Cannon, mechanical engineering master's student
from Orlando, Fla.; and Alan Szech, marketing senior in the Tippie College
of Business from Lake Bluff, Ill.
During the spring semester, they communicated over the
Internet with four students at the Institute for Industrial Thermal Systems
(IUSTI) on the campus of the Universite de Provence in Marseilles, France
by e-mail and videoconferencing. While the project was conducted in English
over the Internet, the face-to-face meeting made it possible to learn some
French as well as hold technical sessions on computational analysis and computer
According to P. Barry Butler, interim dean of the College
of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, the fledgling Virtual
International Design program is an attempt to introduce UI students to the
global teamwork that is becoming more common in international design scheduling.
For example, a UI team may work on a web site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT)
before handing off the project to a second team in another part of the world
from 5 p.m. to midnight (CDT). The third team, located in France, may work
from midnight to 8 a.m. (CDT).
Theodore F. Smith, professor of mechanical engineering
and program coordinator, says that the project was conducted in cooperation
with office furniture manufacturer HON, Inc., which also provided funding
for the students. Ralph I. Stephens, professor of mechanical engineering and
project faculty advisor, notes that the project is a success, with the students
making progress in designing office cubicles that allow occupants to individually
control temperature in the workplace.
For the four IUSTI students, all of whom are juniors,
the project will continue in November when they visit the University of Iowa
to learn more about American culture and perhaps obtain an American internship