Engineering students leave a mark at annual IEEE conference

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For the past two years, Lipscomb University engineering students have been staking their claim at the SoutheastCon. Lipscomb’s engineering students took home several awards in 2018, and they plan to do the same in 2019.

Lipscomb’s Raymond B. College of Engineering sent 15 students to the conference, which was more than any other school at the conference, and they competed in almost every event, bringing home awards in the networking and the ethics competition.

SoutheastCon is the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ annual conference for Region 3.  IEEE is a worldwide professional society split into 10 regions. The Southeast region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, areas of Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and the country of Jamaica.

According to the official IEEE website, SoutheastCon is designed to “promote awareness of the technical contributions made by (the engineering) profession to the advancement of engineering science and to the community.”

This conference allows professionals to present research and technical findings, to network with students and to build relationships. Students get a chance to compete in student competitions, to network with professionals and to look for job opportunities.

The hardware competition at SoutheastCon really allows competitors to show off their skills and creativity by building a robot fit to tackle the challenges of the interactive field. Each year a different theme dictates the decor of the field and the mission of the robot. In 2018, the conference was pirate themed so students designed their robots for the hardware competition with that in mind.


Senior engineering students work on the robot through their senior design project. They not only get to test out their robot in the hardware competition, but they also get a grade for their hard work. Senior computer engineering major Salah Salman said they are already working on their robot’s design for the 2019 competition with a space theme in mind.

In the past, Lipscomb has only had one robot compete in the SoutheastCon events. This year, Lipscomb will have the senior design class enter as well as a second robot designed by the underclassmen. Next year’s competition will involve a playoff round in which the two final bracket winners will simultaneously compete on the interactive field. The senior design team will be able to simulate the final round during that phase of testing with the underclassmen’s robot.

“Allowing underclassmen to build a robot as well does a great job of involving everyone in the department,” said Salman. “It will allow for good information to pass onto the underclassmen when the seniors leave. As the IEEE chair and president, IEEE’s big goal this year is making sure we can pass on really good, reliable information for future officers.”

As the president and chair of Lipscomb’s IEEE student chapter Salman holds responsibilities both on campus and off campus.

“My role is to oversee all the officers at Lipscomb and to make sure everything goes smoothly,” said Salmon. “I also go out and speak to professionals and companies to try and get them to host speakers on campus and to build a relationship between professionals and Lipscomb students.”

This year, Salman competed in a new networking competition and received first place. The competition required him to present his resume to professionals and give them an elevator pitch.

Other competitions that students competed in include the hardware competition, software competition, hackathon, ethics competition, T-shirt competition and a technical paper competition.

A team of three Lipscomb seniors, Hanleigh Heinzman, Hope Reed and Azriel Achterbosh, competed in the ethics competition for the first time and won second place.

“Not only did winning second place send a good message that we have a strong students, but that we are an ethical university,” said Salman.

Much like the Lipscomb University basketball team’s trip to the NCAA tournament gave other schools the chance to learn Lipscomb’s name, the student’s IEEE performance let other colleges know the Lipscomb engineering college is a force to be reckoned with.

“We left a big footprint on the competition and we hope to keep that momentum going. It was exciting because we felt like we were contributing to Lipscomb’s exposure,” said Salman.