Engineering CUP Awards: Cornell University Presentations

The CUP Awards competition invites engaging, unique, insightful technical presentations from undergraduates. Engineering and technical work has no force or presence unless it's communicated well; to that end, the CUP Awards aim to recognize students who create powerful presentations about their engineering projects. Undergraduates from the current academic year are invited to participate.

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Cornell’s College of Engineering and the Engineering Communications Program invites undergraduate individuals and teams to be considered for three separate awards for presentations. Winning students will earn both a monetary award and full recognition from the College of Engineering and Cornell University. 

The Roger K. Berman Oral Presentation Award (for individual speakers; new topical theme each year). Apply now! 

The Fuertes Medal Memorial Prize for Public Speaking (for teams). Apply now! 

The Douglas Whitney Prize for Engineering Student Presentations (for individual speakers or teams). Apply now! 

The goal of the Engineering CUP Awards is to highlight undergraduate work within the College of Engineering, showcasing the importance of strong communication for any technical endeavor. Presenters will benefit, too, from the training, advice, and guidance offered by training workshops and feedback. 

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Engineering Communications Program will continue an amended process to accommodate pandemic measures. The sponsoring bodies of the CUP Awards acknowledge that special circumstances require special outcomes. To that end, the original format, cycle, and award sets were adjusted to meet this “new normal.”

These competitions all come with cash awards. The categories of awards listed below allowed for extraordinary students to be recognized for their high levels of presentation prowess, even in the most trying of years.
 
The process for submission is outlined with each award. After qualifying by May 1, 2021, all submissions are due June 1, 2021 in order to allow students plenty of time to complete their spring semesters first. 
 
The categories of awards listed below allowed for extraordinary students to be recognized for their high levels of presentation prowess, even in the most trying of circumstances.

The Roger K. Berman Oral Presentation Award

Topic Theme: Communication Reimagined

  • Number of Awards to be Given: Up to two cash awards for 2020-2021
  • Time limit: Seven minutes or less

Individual undergraduate students from the College of Engineering are encouraged to submit a recorded video presentation that makes a claim and explores an issue about how engineering and technical work—and the communication thereof—was deeply impacted by the response to pandemic working conditions. 
 
Below are some ways to begin thinking about possible topics. The array of possible topics is quite large; we encourage unique perspectives and approaches to the subject matter. 

  • Explore how unique, extraordinary, or creative communication efforts emerged due to the demands of online work as an outcome of the COVID pandemic. Example: engineering teams developing new, matrixed work patterns that combine Slack, task boards such as Trello, asynchronous video, and live online meetings. 
  • The STEM community has researched and created many products, medicines, apps, and technologies during COVID. Explore an interesting case study about how these experts communicated this research finding with the public and whether those efforts succeeded, failed, or sat somewhere in the middle of that scale. 
  • Provide a deep dive into online conferences and virtual events, assessing both the positives and the negatives for communicating complex technical work associated with using virtual platforms.

Note: Video submissions that only show slides or other graphics with voiceover will not be considered for an award; the panel of judges wants to see the speaker in action. 


Process

An individual student may only enter this competition once during this award cycle. 
 

  1. Interested students sign up to participate using this link. 

  2. Student participants will then be “enrolled” in a Canvas setting.

  3. Students complete the online training and readings via Canvas by May 1, 2021. A completion check “quiz” will be in place in order to forward the application. This online training must be completed to be eligible for prize consideration. 

  4. Students can then submit their recorded talks via Canvas (mp4 format) by June 1, 2021 at 11:59pmEDT. 

 

2019-2020 Winners

Presenter: Issah Madugu 
Title: Engineering’s Role in Social Justice

Madugu presented compelling a thoughtful collection of reasons that engineering should be rooted in—and responsive to—social justice at its very core. 

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Presenter: Isabelle DiGiacomo 
Title: LaTeX for Technical Communication

DiGiacomo expertly and confidently synthesized core aspects of LaTeX within a frame of technical and engineering communication workflows. This work will soon be featured on the Cornell Help for Engineering Communication (CHEC) website

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History of This Award

The Roger K. Berman Oral Presentation Award is given to one or more outstanding individual undergraduate speakers per academic school year. Student participants must be a declared majors in the College of Engineering at Cornell University. This competition is not available to MEng or PhD students.

With a new theme guiding submissions each year, presentation topics can be linked to a Cornell undergraduate engineering course or a College of Engineering Project Team. Students can also enter as an individual apart from coursework or formal university project teams. 

Roger K. Berman was a founding member of the advisory council for the Engineering Communications Program. He had a lifelong interest in effective communications, manifested in part during his student days at Cornell University when he served as editor of the Cornell Engineer. In his work at Bellcore, he saw how well communications skills served young engineers, and he believed that his participation on the communications council was one way in which he might help shape the education of students in the college.

In 1993, the Cornell Society of Engineers recommended that a prize fund be endowed in memory of Roger Berman, one of the group’s most active members. The prize will be awarded annually to a student enrolled in the Engineering Communications Program for best oral presentation.

 

The Fuertes Medal Memorial Prize for Public Speaking

  • Number of Awards to Be Given: Up to four separate cash awards to teams from across the College of Engineering for 2020-2021
  • Time limit: Ten minutes or less per entry

Topics and Requirements


This competition is for undergraduate student teams from the College of Engineering.
 
Student teams will submit a recorded video that comes from either 1) an engineering course-related talk or 2) a presentation for an engineering project team competition. Any work from the academic year of 2020-2021 (fall, winter, and spring terms) can be submitted. All members of the team must agree to release this recorded presentation for consideration; their agreement will be indicated by completing the Canvas training outlined below.
 
There is no theme for the Fuertes Medal, as the submitted work will be dependent upon context. The focus for the Fuertes Medal is on the quality of the engineering communication and the level of expert presence that each team brings to its topic.
 
Teams may have up to six members represented. Any person on the submission must have equal speaking time to all other members. Only team members submitted on the official entry forms will be awarded cash prizes. At least half of the team’s membership must be a declared College of Engineering major. If a team is made up of an odd number of members, the majority of the membership must be a declared College of Engineering major. 
 
Note: Video submissions that only show slides or other graphics with voiceover will not be considered for an award; the panel of judges wants to see the speakers in action. 


 
Process


The application will ask the team leader to submit on behalf of the entire team, stating which course or project team, the instructor/advisor, and the assignment/competition outline. 
 

  1. One student (the team leader) signs up the team, including all members. When signing up, the team leader should have for each person these items:
    • The proper spelling of each team member’s name
    • Each person’s NetID
    • Each person’s declared major
  2. The team leader will sign up the team using this form. 
  3. All students on that team will then be “enrolled” in a Canvas setting.
  4. Individual students, as active individual participants in their team, will complete the online training and readings via Canvas by May 1, 2021. A completion check “quiz” will be in place for each individual student in order to forward the team’s application. Everyone on the team must complete the online training for the team to be eligible.
  5. The team leader can then submit the team’s recorded talk via Canvas by June 1, 2021 at 11:59pmEDT.

 

2019-2020 Winners

Team Presenters: Abby Adams, Donovan Flood, Sandhya Ganesan, Maho Koga

Title: Modeling of Drying Phase of Lyophilization of the Ebola Virus Disease Vaccine
Course:  partner courses BEE 4530 | Computer-Aided Engineering: Applications to Biological Processes and
ENGRC 4530 | Communication for Computer-Aided Engineering

This was a great presentation in terms of using the assertion/evidence slide construction taught in the class. Many slides used animations or shapes to draw the audience’s attention to specific parts of a graph or formula. All of the speakers used a professional tone and volume. Overall, the presentation flowed well and showed evidence of practice as well as careful slide design.

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Team Presenters: Dave Chen, Evan Cheng, Mitchell Scott

Title: Whole Ovary Vitrification Protocol 
Team Presenters: Dave Chen, Evan Cheng, Mitchell Scott
Course: partner courses BEE 4530 | Computer-Aided Engineering: Applications to Biological Processes and
ENGRC 4530 | Communication for Computer-Aided Engineering

For this work, both the speakers and the slide design were excellent, allowing the complex technical information about modeling the cryopreservation of a human ovary to be clearly communicated. The visuals were engaging, as were the speakers. The team expertly used the assertion/evidence structure for slide design, allowing the speakers and information to shine.


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Team Presenters: Maggie Chen, Nick Fanelli, Sandy Chen

Title: A Win-win Solution: Congestion Pricing
Course: partner courses CEE 3610 | Introduction to Transportation Engineering and
ENGRC 3610 | Communications for Transportation Engineering

This team did an effective job of defining and visualizing a problem through oral presentation and visualization with the slides. The presenters speak with confidence and sound highly motivated. We appreciated the team’s extra efforts in creating targeted animated visuals that direct the audience’s focus. The summary is effective in convincing the audience that the proposed solution is the best and most profitable.

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Team Presenters: Nicolas Buitrago, Irina Wang, Shadman Khan

Title: Inaccessible Engineering Campus Tours
Course: ENGRC 3500 | Engineering Communication

The audience was immediately engrossed in the topic because the team jumped right into the problem with a sense of urgency. There were excellent graphics and UI designs created by the team to visualize the proposed app and proposed rerouting of the engineering quad tour. The project was well situated within Universal Design concepts, and the team clearly investigated the solution well by talking to Student Disability Services and acknowledging that their solution would allow more people in general to access campus tours remotely. The sense of “let’s get going!” on this project was ultimately what deserves merit, especially during the semester when students were uprooted from campus and sent home.

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History of This Award

The Fuertes Medal Memorial Prize for Pubic Speaking originated in 1912 in Civil Engineering. Given to all-undergraduate teams, comprised of three or more individuals who are all undergraduate declared majors in the College of Engineering at Cornell University. This competition is not available to MEng or PhD students. 

Estevan Antonio Fuertes

The Fuertes Medal is named for Estevan Antonio Fuertes (1838-1903). Born in Puerto Rico, educated in Spain and New York, he began he work at Cornell as a founding dean in Civil Engineering. He worked tirelessly to promote "state of the art" thinking for the technical fields, including the ability to communicate innovation.  Photo source

 

 

 

The Douglas Whitney Prize for Engineering Student Presentations

  • Number of Awards to Be Given: Up to four separate cash awards, in total, from across the College of Engineering
  • Focus: Non-traditional Multimedia Presentations
  • Time limit: Ten minutes or less per entry

 
The Whitney Douglas Awards for 2020-2021 will focus on non-traditional presentations that fold in creative uses of multimedia for communicating about engineering or technical work. These projects may come from coursework, entries to competitions, entrepreneurship pitch days, or other similar areas. Any work from the academic year of 2020-2021 (fall, winter, and spring terms) can be submitted. 
 
This competition is for undergraduate students (either as individuals or in teams) from the College of Engineering. An individual student may only enter this competition once during this award cycle.
 
Note: Video submissions that only show slides or other graphics with voiceover will not be considered for an award; the panel of judges wants to see the speakers in action.

Process: Individual Entries

 

  1. Interested students sign up to participate via this form. 
  2. Student participants will then be “enrolled” in a Canvas setting.
  3. Students complete the online training and readings via Canvas by May 1, 2021. A completion check “quiz” will be in place in order to forward the application and be eligible for prize consideration.
  4. Students can then submit their recorded talks via Canvas by June 1, 2021 at 11:59pmEDT. 

Process: Team Entries

Student teams submit their recorded course-related talks for consideration. The application will ask the team leader to submit on behalf of the entire team,  stating which course or project team, the instructor/advisor, and the assignment/competition outline. 
 
Teams may have up to six members represented. At least half of the team’s membership must be a declared College of Engineering major. If a team is made up of an odd number of members, the majority of the membership must be a declared College of Engineering major. All members of the team must agree to release this recorded presentation for consideration; their agreement will be indicated by completing the training outlined below. 
 

  1. One student (the team leader) signs up the team, including all members. First, the team leader should gather this information from all team members: 
    • The proper spelling of each team member’s name
    • Each person’s NetID
    • Each person’s declared major
  2.  The team leader will sign up the team via this form
  3. All students on that team will subsequently be “enrolled” in a Canvas setting.
  4. Individual students, as active individual participants in their team, will complete the online training and readings via Canvas by May 1, 2021. A completion check “quiz” will be in place for each individual student in order to forward the team’s application. Everyone on the team must complete the online training for the team to be eligible.
  5. Students can then submit their recorded talks via Canvas by June 1, 2021 at 11:59pmEDT.

Past Winners

Team Presenters: onewordstudios

In order of appearance: Wendy Zhang, Jeffrey Yao, Demi Chang,  Michael Xing, Sam Sorenson, Aashna Saxena

Title: SweetSpace Boston FIG Entry Video
Course: partner courses CS/INFO 4152 (Advanced Game Development) and ENGRC 4152 (Communication for Advanced Games Design)

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Teams are required to create a video for their entry to BostonFIG (Festival of Indie Games), and this was an exceptional effort by the onewordstudio team. All members spoke equally, the game and its development cycle were explained clearly, and any viewer of this video immediately is swept up in the suspense and drive of this networked game created to be played cooperatively with family and friends. 

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Team Presenters: Mooooovvvve Studios.

Erie Adames, Sheri Guo, Naina Pai, Shan Parikh, Yash Sahota, Christopher Talavera, Joy Zhang

Title: Spectacle Boston FIG Entry Video
Course: partner courses CS/INFO 4152 (Advanced Game Development) and ENGRC 4152 (Communication for Advanced Games Design)

screenshot of Spectacle game video

Teams are required to create a video for their entry to BostonFIG (Festival of Indie Games), and this compelling work showcased the game beautifully. Narrating the gameplay and development cycles, the speakers were clear, well rehearsed, and engaging. Amazing visuals, clear descriptions of gameplay, intriguing points about game development, and a history of how the game came to fruition keep viewers engaged and excited to try the game.

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History of This Award

For CUP Awards, the Douglas Whitney Prize recognizes quality multi-modal, innovative, or alternative forms of traditional presentations. Entries should make interesting use of video or alternative formats to promote technical work, concepts, or projects associated with College of Engineering coursework. 

This award is given to either individual students or all-undergraduate teams that are comprised of three or more people. Individual entrants must be declared majors in Cornell’s College of Engineering; for team submissions, the majority of members must be majors in Cornell’s College of Engineering. This competition is not available to MEng or PhD students.

The Douglas Whitney Prize was established in 1987, with the intent to promote and recognize quality undergraduate student presentations in the College of Engineering.  

Information on how to enter is forthcoming. If you would like an email notification when participation schedules and procedures have been released, please fill out this quick form.