Even as a child growing up in Kuwait, Western Michigan University senior and Lee Honors College student Jolica Dias loved to use her mind and her hands to design.
Back then, Dias created art. Today, the electrical engineering student focuses on learning to create machines and systems. She chose to learn her craft at WMU, drawn by the reputation of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and by the recommendations of alumni in Kuwait.
Honed at WMU, Dias’s technical talent has already earned her accolades and inspired her to conduct independent research. She was part of the four-person team that brought WMU its second straight victory in the Stryker Engineering Challenge.
Students were to build a machine—in less than a day—that could play a mini golf course. They created an arm operated by electrical motors that delivered golf balls to their targets. It was an “elegant” solution to the assignment, Stryker employees observed of the WMU team’s design.
“It was fun to come up with something from scratch that nobody helped you design, using prior knowledge. We actually combined the electrical and mechanical engineering fields to build this machine,” says Dias, a member of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honors society.
The experience inspired Dias to begin ongoing, independent research on touch sensors this summer. After graduating from WMU, though she hasn’t decided the specific industry, she has designs on a career in research and development.
“I just know I like this idea of developing something new,” she says.