IMECE Tales in Tampa: Aliva Dash
Nov 13, 2017 | Sahithi Ravipati
Ever thought you would be able to meet your inspiration in real life? Aliva Dash, a third-year student from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, had the opportunity to fulfill what she felt would never happen in her life. As the president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers NITR chapter, she has many achievements but this is definitely one of her best.
The International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) was held in Tampa, Florida, USA from the 3rd to 9th of November. It was held at the Tampa Convention Centre but the competition she took part in was held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina. Aliva was able to participate in the Oral Presentation Competition in this conference and bagged the 4th position out of 12 other competitors. She received a certificate and five hundred dollars as prize money.
Every year, ASME conducts three engineering fests, one in each of the Asia-Pacific, Eastern America and Western America zones.The students selected from these levels are made to compete at the finals in IMECE each year In March of this year, Aliva along with a contingent of ASME members represented the institute in at the ASME E-fest Asia Pacific held at LNMIIT, Jaipur. She participated in the Old Guard Oral Presentation competition. Like all professionals, engineers must possess a well-developed ability to synthesize issues and communicate effectively to diverse audiences. This competition is designed to emphasize the value of an ability to deliver clear, concise and effective oral presentations, particularly pertaining to some sphere in which an engineer is or should be involved. This was followed by a Q&A session where either the judges or the audience could ask questions of their choice. Having impressed the judges, she became the first runner-up in this competition. This success later became her gateway to compete at the IMECE for the finals. She was selected by ASME to compete in the finals.
The topic of her presentation was “Additive Manufacturing-the herald of modern fabrication”. Owing to the large hype in the international market for 3D-printing, Aliva found herself riveted with the concept.
Many of us have heard of the term and become fascinated. We don’t actually know about the technology and how it works. We don’t know how the final 3D object is fabricated. The research she had done to cater to her piqued interest led her to choose this for her presentation. Speaking about her area of interest, she says
There are two primary types of manufacturing, Conventional and Non-Conventional manufacturing. In conventional manufacturing, there is an actual physical contact between the cutting tool and the material being processed. This form of subtractive manufacturing however has many drawbacks like tool wear, material wastage, lower accuracy, noisy operations and labour costs. In Additive manufacturing, on the other hand, the material is added layer by layer to build the product thus overcoming the potholes involved in traditional machining processes.
Although the conference was held from the 3rd to 9th of November, she was only able to attend until the 7th. The conference consisted of many keynote guest lectures and paper presentations. To her surprise, she found out the chief keynote speaker was Charles W. Hull who was essentially the pioneer of the 3D printing phenomenon.She was ecstatic about being able to interact with him.
During the conference, she was able to interact with many eminent intellectuals as there were people from over 70 countries. Many of the people she was able to interact with many stalwart engineers from various fields. During the competition, she was competing with many people who had graduated and were already working professionals and had their own companies. Besides a student from IIT Roorkee, she was one of the only undergrad students. She also had the opportunity to attend a student leadership workshop. She was also able to explore the University of South Florida during her time there.
Professors from the Department of Mechanical Engineering like Prof. DRK Parhi, the HoD and Prof. Suman Ghosh, the faculty advisor of the ASME club were quite cooperative in the process. Along with this, a senior from the department, Abhijeet Behera who had previously visited Detroit for an SAE conference had also helped her out a lot. She was able to get guidance from him about travelling abroad and visa procedures.
One of the problems she had faced during this entire process is the process of acquiring leaves. She was not able to stay for the entire conference as she could not get enough leaves from the institute. She also had to go through a hectic process to file these leaves.
Although ASME sponsored her by providing 1500 dollars for her travel expenses, she received help from NITRAA in a different way. When Aliva approached NITRAA for some financial support as 1500 dollars would not suffice, her request was not met as they told her they could only help those with a low financial background. Rather, NITRAA was able to put her in touch with an alumnus, Kiron Senapati, from the 1978 batch of Chemical Engineering.
They got me in contact with Kiron sir and from that day on he has been more than a parent to me. He told me how I could get from Miami to Tampa. He was also able to get me a hotel room at a negotiated price because of his contacts. This was a great relief. He also took us sight-seeing in Tampa and hosted us for dinner. The treatment was extremely heartwarming.
She adds that she values her exposure on such an eminent international platform more than anything else. Team MM congratulates Aliva for her achievements at IMECE. We wish her all the very best in all her future endeavours.