First-Time Sponsors Call On Talented Seniors

Dec. 17, 2019

New partners deliver new challenges for Wildcat Engineers.


Project sponsors stand by table at Open House event
William Blair and Rob Heisterman from Mister Car Wash spoke to seniors about their company’s two projects at Open House in August.

Interdisciplinary Capstone is partnering with local, national and global companies to broaden opportunities for University of Arizona engineering students.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the course welcomed 18 new sponsors, ranging from university affiliates such as the Biosphere 2 to local companies such as Barrio Brewing Co. to government organizations such as Sandia National Laboratories.


Mister Car Wash

The impact of engineering is everywhere – even at the car wash! Tucson-headquartered Mister Car Wash, which has more than 300 locations in 21 states, is sponsoring two projects in its first year with Interdisciplinary Capstone.

One team of seniors will design an aboveground water reclamation system to help car wash locations conserve water on site. The other project addresses quality assurance with a machine vision system that will gather data on metrics such as soil levels before and after a wash, the number and size of water droplets left on cleaned vehicles, and the degree of added shine from wax applications.

“Mister Car Wash will benefit from some bright young minds who’ll approach our business with fresh eyes and ears, while we give them some real-world business challenges to sink their teeth into,” said John Lai, the company’s CEO.


Intel Corp.

Intel Corp., the multinational computer processor company, is also new to Capstone and sponsoring two projects this year: an artificial intelligence method for preventing theft at retail self-checkouts and an epileptic sleep seizure detection and notification system.

Carlos Contreras, who earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from UArizona in 1992 and is now the director of state government affairs – emerging technologies at Intel, said the company is looking forward to introducing new technologies to students, helping them develop skills and seeing the impact of student creativity on the project.

“Data will be essential in shaping the future of every person on the planet,” he said. “We want students to build projects that can unlock the power of data so people can ride in self-driving cars, experience virtual worlds, and be touched by computer-assisted intelligence in ways yet unimagined. The project sponsorship gave us an opportunity to introduce our technology to multiple students.”


Meggitt Tucson

Meggitt Tucson, formerly known as Securaplane, specializes in power, position and security devices for aerospace. Founded in 1986, Securaplane was the first company to offer a fully integrated aircraft security system, bringing detection, alarm, video, video recording and telecommunication into one package. It became a Meggitt company in 2011.

“We chose to partner with the University of Arizona to infuse energy and new technology into our already amazing products, to really utilize that next generation of engineers,” said Sarah Morris, general manager at Meggitt Tucson.

The company is sponsoring two projects. One team is developing a method for stitching together multiple video camera outputs to eliminate blind spots and provide aircraft with 360-degree views. The other is creating a tool to standardize the way 3D engineering models are translated to work instructions for assembling electronic components used in the aircraft industry.

“The energy and knowledge from the students have provided the team here at Meggitt Tucson with a new perspective on innovation,” said engineering manager Paul Thompson, who graduated with his UArizona bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2004.

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UA engineering students are ready to take your project from concept to reality.