Thursday, 26 May 2011

Team Algaebus - out of the box and out of the classroom

Tired of hearing us say that SAIS is an experience both inside and outside the classroom? Bear with us and consider this example of student activity.

Nicolò Lanciotti, Andrew Orihuela and Michael Volpe recently participated in a global competition sponsored by Airbus. Part of the airline's efforts to develop a greener future for aviation, the "Fly Your Ideas" challenge drew entries from 2,600 students from 75 countries.

Participants chasing the €30,000 first prize were encouraged to propose an idea related to one stage of the aircraft's life: design, supply chain, manufacturing, aircraft operations or aircraft disposal.

You'll have to watch the short video below to learn the details of the SAIS Bologna students' project. To whet your curiosity: think algae, biofuel, cosmetics, fishmeal and Omega-3.

Orihuela, Volpe and Lanciotti
Mentored by SAIS Bologna Director Ken Keller and assisted by engineer Luca Perletta, the three MA candidates focused on creating a cost-effective and marketable idea. They made it to the second round, where the number of participating teams was whittled down to 80 from more than 300.

"I was able to integrate the project to some of the courses I am taking. It was a great way to use the efforts put into the project in class," said Volpe, a U.S. citizen.

The fledgling engineers said one of the biggest challenges was finding time outside of class. They had to consider the project from the standpoint of an investor and then market their idea. "I highly recommend this experience, although it was time-consuming," said Orihuela, also from the United States.

Lanciotti, from Italy, edited the video. Volpe contributed the drawings. We'll let you guess who did the voice-over.

Amina Abdiuahab