If you're an engineer and want to really gain hands-on experience, definitely consider joining a project team. Being on a project team has definitely, without a doubt, been one of the best decisions I've made since coming to Cornell.
Applied Hands-on Learning. Collaborative. Innovative.
Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams mimic real-world engineering by bringing Cornell students, faculty, and staff together to solve complex problems in team-based settings. Breaking the rules of conventional wisdom is not foreign to our engineers and the spirit of innovation is alive and well in our state-of-the-art labs and workshops.
This is the largest program of its kind in the country with over 1,200 student participants from all 14 Engineering majors and from across Cornell’s seven undergraduate colleges/schools. Membership in project teams closely aligns with the gender ratio of the undergraduate student body at Cornell, with 53% male and 47% female during the 2019–20 academic year.
The 29 project teams provide students with a rich, multidisciplinary experience, working in diverse teams to tackle challenging, real-world problems. Many of our teams compete regionally, nationally, and internationally in engineering design and build competitions, others work with local and global community partners or develop open-source apps and data-driven solutions. And if you look below the surface, our teams include students who specialize in a huge variety of technical challenges but also business, fundraising, operations, and logistics.
The fact that students can earn course credit for their participation makes this program particularly unique.
Meet the Director
Swanson Director of Student Project Teams
Experiential Learning Lab
B06 Upson Hall
Learn more about our teams!
AguaClara upholds and protects the fundamental human right to access safe drinking water. We are committed to the ongoing development of resilient, gravity-powered drinking water and wastewater treatment technologies. Students lead the innovation process, learn from each other, and foster a collaborative environment where diversity is celebrated, failures are learning opportunities, and success is shared. We research, invent, and design technologies that are implemented by partner organizations and managed by communities to bring safe water on tap!
AppDev is dedicated to producing innovative, open-source web and mobile apps. Our goal is to produce apps that benefit the Cornell community and the local Ithaca area as well as to share our code with the global community through GitHub. Our core team was founded in 2014 and has since grown to ~60 iOS developers, backend developers, and designers who collaborate to build apps from idea to finished product. We also teach three courses to the Cornell community: Intro to iOS App Development, Principles of Backend Engineering, and Intro to Digital Product Design.
The Autonomous Bicycle is an undergraduate project team at Cornell University working to build a self-balancing, self-navigating, robotic bicycle. We are solving problems involving balance, navigation, localization, obstacle avoidance, and autonomous starting/stopping. We also work on a human-rideable bicycle with balance assist features. The students on our team study mechanical engineering, computer science, and business.
Cornell ChemE Car
ChemE Car is a student-run project team whose members build model cars purely powered and stopped by chemical reactions. Months of research, design, construction, and calibrations culminate in competitions at the AICHE Northeast Regional Conference in the Spring, and the AICHE National Conference in the Fall. The team has had members from a wide variety of majors across most of the colleges at Cornell and promotes collaboration of students from diverse backgrounds.
Cornell Concrete Canoe is a student-run project team whose members design lightweight concrete to create a fully functional, sustainable, and fast canoe that team members then race at the spring regional competition. From materials design to structural analysis, mold creation, and finishing touches on the final product, students of all majors collaborate together to engineer the impossible.
Cornell Baja Racing
Cornell Baja Racing is an engineering project team which annually designs, builds and races an off-road vehicle to compete in the SAE Collegiate Baja Design Series. By encouraging hands-on engineering and project-based learning, Cornell Baja takes engineering out of the classroom (and onto the track) for 40 students annually. The competition requires students to balance design and cost with dynamic performance while following a strict set of safety guidelines and standardized rules. There are three North American competitions annually, each with 100 competing teams. The competition is broken down into static and dynamic events.
Cornell Cup Robotics
Cornell Cup Robotics designs, manufactures, and creates innovative robotics oriented projects. Over 50 Cornell students work to create dynamic projects that bolster the ingenuity of embedded technologies. Since 2010, our projects have been showcased at many conferences and we have received support from numerous robotics and technology companies.The objective of this team is to provide a valuable, practical experience for students with robotics and embedded systems, and to demonstrate the extraordinary technology that we are able to create.
Cornell Data Science
Cornell Data Science is an undergraduate project team which builds data-driven solutions to a variety of real-world problems. Current initiatives range from a scalable mapping system for better natural disaster response to a tool which can summarize Amazon reviews for a better user experience. Our team of 80 students is a great place to meet people with diverse interests, gain experience at the intersection of theory and application, and contribute to the greater community through initiatives like the machine learning course we teach.
Cornell Design and Tech Initiative
The Cornell Design & Tech Initiative is an engineering project team dedicated to creating technology for community impact. Our diverse team of nearly 100 members work as designers, developers, product managers, and business analysts to help build websites and mobile applications for Cornell and beyond. We share our knowledge with others through initiatives like student-run classes, technical workshops, and local community events.
Cornell Electric Vehicles
Founded in 2014, Cornell Electric Vehicles (formerly Resistance Racing) designs, builds and tests energy-efficient electric vehicles. As the first project team at Cornell University to explore completely electric vehicles, and one of the teams affiliated with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, CEV gives students of all majors and ages the distinct opportunity to apply knowledge from classes to modern issues in engineering such as sustainable design and electric mobility.
Cornell Hyperloop is a team of students from Cornell University aiming to accelerate the development of Hyperloop by designing and building a pod to compete in the annual SpaceX Hyperloop competition.
The Cornell Cornell Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team is an award-winning synthetic biology research team comprised of 30 undergraduate students. The team is comprised of five subteams: Wet Lab, Product Development, Policy and Practices, Business, and Wiki/Design. The team works throughout the school year and summer to solve local and global problems related to medical applications, environmental concerns, and human and animal health. We compete against 300+ multidisciplinary teams from all around the world at the iGEM Giant Jamboree, hosted annually by the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation.
Cornell Mars Rover
Cornell Mars Rover is a premier student-run engineering team comprised of over 45 members from across Cornell's undergraduate colleges. Each year, CMR designs an innovative rover to compete in the international University Rover Challenge, in which the team tackles challenges such as autonomous navigation, on-site science experimentation, and extreme terrain traversal. Since its inception in 2010, CMR has consistently placed well, earning 6th in the world at the 2019 competition. Students work collaboratively to design, build, and test the rover, exploring cutting edge technologies such as machine learning, wireless communications, CNC, and 3D printing.
The Cornell University Microgravity (Micro-G) project team is a group of students who are passionate about pushing the boundaries of space technology. Working in coordination with NASA, the team designs and develops tools to aid in space exploration. Each year, the team starts from scratch, choosing a new challenge and designing an instrument to achieve the desired purpose. At the end of the year, Cornell Micro-g travels to the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to test the device with trained astronaut divers. Our team takes on a large variety of tasks including CADing, machining, electrical engineering, human factors, rapid prototyping, sourcing funds, technical writing, and outreach coordination.
Founded in 1986, Cornell Racing designs, builds and tests a new Formula-style racecar to compete in the Formula SAE series every year. Our team is composed of 60 undergraduate and graduate students divided into 14 technical and non-technical subteams. The majority of our team members are technical subteam leads and members who are responsible for the design of each component on the car.
Cornell Rocketry is a student-run project team that focuses on designing, analyzing, and flying experimental sounding rockets fully developed by the team. With over 42 members spanning 12 majors, students work on a variety of projects including rocket propulsion, PCB design and revisioning, software architecture, integrated flight dynamics modeling, and mechanical structures. Each year, Cornell Rocketry competes against over 100 universities in the annual Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico.
Cornell Seismic Design
The Cornell Seismic Design team designs, builds, and tests a scaled multi-story balsa wood tower for an international undergraduate competition hosted every spring at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) annual meeting. At competition, the tower is scored on a number of categories including architecture, model predictions, building revenue and costs, team presentations, and most importantly whether or not the structure survives all three ground motions. Our team offers a great opportunity for students interested in all engineering disciplines, especially those focused in construction, structures, architecture, seismology and more, to experience the process of bringing a project from an abstract thought to a tangible product.
CU Sail is a Cornell University engineering project that designs and manufactures an inexpensive, autonomous robotic sailboat each year for the SailBot International Robotic Sailboat Regatta. CUSail offers students across many disciplines the opportunity to apply what they have been learning in the classroom to real world engineering problems of tomorrow. Using cutting-edge technology and advanced mechanical design, our team is exploring the uncharted waters that is the field of autonomous sailboats.
CUAir, Cornell University Unmanned Air Systems, is an interdisciplinary project team working to design, build, and test a custom search and rescue unmanned aerial system. This includes tasks such as autonomous take-off and landing, waypoint navigation, automatic in-flight obstacle avoidance, target detection, classification and localization, and payload delivery.
Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
The Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV) team designs and builds AUVs for competition and research. The team and its vehicle have received acclaim and support from industry professionals as a result of its performance and long-standing tradition of excellence.
The Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) is an engineering project team that develops innovative solutions for current biomedical problems and concerns. After two years of in-depth research, development, and testing, our project is submitted to VentureWell’s DEBUT competition, where it is judged based on innovation, feasibility, marketability, and patentability.
Cornell Design Build Fly
Design Build Fly (DBF) is a student-run project team in which members develop, build, test, and optimize a custom radio-controlled aircraft to compete in the international DBF competition. Since our founding in 2011, we have placed sixth and eighth out of 80 international teams and have taken first place for our written technical report, which is now publicly showcased. The team’s success in its short existence is predicated upon our innovative design approach, use of cutting edge methods and materials, and dedicated members. Cornell DBF provides interested students a venue to apply theoretical coursework to formulate practical engineering solutions. By applying the same technology and manufacturing methods as industry professionals, our team provides graduating members with the knowledge and experience for success.
Cornell Engineering World Health
Cornell's Engineering World Health (EWH) chapter was founded in the fall of 2012 by a group of undergraduates who wanted to make a meaningful impact in the world, even as students. This mission has become the core foundation of EWH as a project team that seeks to make innovative and low-cost medical devices for developing countries and low-resource communities. From idea conception, to design, to final prototyping, Cornell EWH has created several devices with the potential for impact. While in the past the team has submitted prototype designs to an international competition, and placed 3rd in their first submission, the team is now working on building devices that will be directly implemented by health care workers in low-resource communities.
Engineers for a Sustainable World
Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW)is an engineering project team committed to forging innovative, lasting solutions for local and global sustainability challenges. Since its establishment in 2002 at Cornell, ESW has expanded to a national, non-profit network with over 50 college, university, and city chapters with more than 4000 student, faculty, and professional members. ESW Cornell is comprised of three subteams: Biofuels, Renewable Energy Design, and Solar Powered Solutions.
Engineers in Action
The Cornell University Chapter of Engineers in Action, is a student run project team with the College of Engineering that works with the non-for-profit organization Engineers in Action to design and build pedestrian footbridges for rurally isolated communities. EIA designs and implements a new bridge every year and has built bridges across Bolivia and the Kingdom of eSwatini.
Engineers without Borders
Engineers Without Borders Cornell is a group of passionate and highly motivated students who aim to design and implement long-lasting sustainable engineering solutions to problems in international and domestic communities. Through collaboration with community partners around the world, our members are exposed to a variety of cultures and experiences and are given the opportunity to gain real-world experience and global awareness. Currently, we are working on an irrigation project in Tanzania, an aquaponics project in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a drone/rover project as part of our Digital Agriculture subteam.
Cornell ACM Programming
Cornell ICPC (ACM) Programming team is devoted to competitive programming. We conquer challenging problems of different topics that can be roughly divided into three categories. Implementation: implementation-focused ones such as backtracking problems require good code and carefulness to excel. Combinatorics (dynamic programming, enumerative combinatorics, graph theory, greedy algorithms): usually require delicate-designed data structures and algorithms to get accepted. Geometry and Number Theory (vector operations, convex hull, primes, modular arithmetic): demonstrates beautiful mathematical applications in the contest.
Cornell Solar Boat
Solar Boat is an engineering project team that designs and builds a seventeen foot, single occupant, purely solar powered speed boat for the Intercollegiate Solar Splash Competition. Founded in 2015, Solar Boat is one of Cornell University's youngest project teams. Despite this, Solar Boat provides students of all ages and majors with practical experience, a cooperative team environment, and a chance to apply their knowledge to modern engineering problems.
Cornell Steel Bridge
Cornell Steel Bridge is an undergraduate project team that annually competes in the American Institute of Steel Construction Student (AISC) Steel Bridge Competition. Each year, students spend the year designing, analyzing, fabricating, and constructing a bridge. Team members are able to utilize their classroom knowledge to optimize a bridge with the lightest weight, fastest constructability, and lowest deflection. All members of the team are additionally encouraged to participate in the hands-on experience of bringing the bridge from theory to reality. The Cornell Steel Bridge allows all team members the opportunity to partake in the fabrication and construction process, in which students learn how to cut, drill, and weld members of the bridge together.
Engineers in Action
Cornell students work with the non-profit organization Engineers in Action to design and build pedestrian footbridges for rurally isolated communities abroad. This picture was taken during the 2019 build in the Kingdom of eSwatini.
Cornell Rocketry Team
Members of the Cornell Rocketry team watch their launch at the annual Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico.
Cornell Design & Tech Initiative
Student members of Cornell Design & Tech Initiative create technology for community impact at Cornell and beyond.
Senior members of Cornell Racing celebrate their first electric drive in ARG19. After 35 years, the team switched from gasoline power to electric.
Listen to a Quick Overview of the Project Teams
For more information about the Project Teams, watch the full interview with Lauren Stulgis, Swanson Director of Student Project Teams.