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NU - Green Wall: Winter 2024 Update

Added by Cameron Moore about 1 month ago

We have begun building ! In Winter Quarter we finalized most of our design and ordered materials allowing us to start building our first prototype! Most of our team has gotten trained in the shop to use the chop saw, table saw, and panel saw, along with all of the basic tools covered as freshmen in McCormick. As more materials continue to come in we will be refining our prototype design to present to facilities and get building outside!

We’d also like to introduce our new PM who will be stepping in for Cameron as he graduates this year. Meet Luke Simmons!

Stop by our Green Wall meeting times to get involved! We meet Sundays at 4 PM at Ford G201 and Fridays at 12 PM at the shop.


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NU - SmartTree: Winter 2024 Update

Added by Thomas Hoang about 1 month ago

During Winter quarter, SmartTree continued to construct the base of our structure, including mounting our poles and solar panels, as well as finishing staining and sealing all our wood pieces. We also took another look at our plan for the electrical system and made some modifications.

One of our main milestones of the quarter was finishing all the staining and sealing. Now all of our wood pieces for the base structure are ready to be assembled once we figure out the alignment for our flanges to hold the poles.

To complete the rest of the bottom structure, we needed to align our flanges so that the poles would be straight, fitting through the hole in each lid piece. To do this, we assembled one of the three modules that would hold the poles. We then placed the pole through the hole we made in the lid piece and marked where the flange needed to be located on our plastic base piece. Once we had these markings, we drilled and tapped holes through the thick and thin plastic that the flange sits on top of, securing it to the base of our structure. After assembling the module with the flange secured, we had officially completed one module. Knowing that our assembly method was sufficient, we ordered the other two poles and flanges to repeat the process for the other two modules in the Spring.

We also decided to look at our electrical system again since there were only ever preliminary calculations done. To help out with this, we had a PhD student with experience in photovoltaics help us run through some more complicated calculations. By the end of the discussion, we realized that for our goals of operation, we may need more solar panels or more batteries. However, we plan to talk with some professors and consult other resources in the Spring to have a more concrete plan moving forward with the electrical system.

Looking ahead, we plan to finish the entire SmartTree base structure in the Spring, along with solidifying the electrical system. We may also start working on the benches/chairs/stools as a side project, leaving us with an almost complete SmartTree by the end of the school year!

SmartTree is headed by PMs Thomas Hoang (), and Fiona Ireland (). You can find more information about SmartTree on the ESW Project Database, where we post detailed quarterly blogs and an updated project summary. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or interest!

NU - AutoAquaponics: Winter 2024 Update

Added by Kyan Shlipak about 1 month ago

This quarter, AutoAquaponics made headway towards our existing projects from last quarter and even began some exciting new projects! These new projects do not come for free, so we applied for and received another McCormick Student Advisory Board grant. Our sincerest thanks goes out to them for making this project possible!

We also saw a change in leadership this quarter, with Hannah Wilks taking over as co-project manager, joining Kyan Shlipak. Like last year, we were given the opportunity to give system tours for the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Career Day for Girls event! At this event, middle schoolers in the Chicagoland area are given tours of Northwestern facilities and projects to inspire them to pursue careers in STEM. AutoAquaponics is one of these projects, and we are very grateful to be a part of this exciting day! Pictured below are some highlights of the system tours and a rundown of our project (shoutout to Hannah, Jack, Eduardo, and Talia for volunteering!):

Mechanical Design

Aliza and Kyan have conducted fluid analysis calculations to create calculations for the current system, provide the necessary construction parameters for new growbeds, and ensure sufficient water flow with future additional modifications. They programmatically solved these fluid problems in IPython using the Sympy and Numpy libraries with the Engineer’s Bernoulli equation and existing standardized PVC fluid parameters. Of the six identified parameters to solve for (listed below), 1-3 are complete and Aliza and Kyan are working on the next three. 1. Velocity out of the existing upper growbed 2. Velocity out of the existing lower growbed 3. Height needed for the new upper growbed 4. Height needed for the new lower growbed 5. Expected velocity out of the new upper growbed 6. Expected velocity out of the new lower growbed

Hannah and Calvin have worked to redesign the membrane filtration system to minimize eddies through the membrane pads and ensure that all water goes through the filters. The redesign increases the size of the membrane filter tank and increases the surface area of the membrane filters to improve filtration efficiency and quality. The redesign is currently in the process of being built. All walls have been cut on a laser cutter and all materials, from pipe fits to PVC pipes to filters, have been purchased. We also 3D printed a frame to hold the filter pads in place within the system. The next stages include putting the box together, sealing it with aquarium silicone sealant, and inserting the pipe gaskets.

Hannah and Samreen have designed a shrimp cage to introduce and safeguard shrimp in the system. The CAD is done and all parts have been printed and purchased, besides the live components (moss and shrimp).

David, Lily, Samreen, Kyan, and Jonathan have completed the design and partial construction of a PVC-grow bed, which would allow us to grow many small plants with shorter roots than our larger grow beds can support. The additional plant life will both improve our crop yields and improve the water quality and nutrient cycling of the aquaponic system, We are in the process of printing grates and purchasing plants, and we are prototyping a novel part to allow us to cycle the water level in the PVC pipe between high and low levels. We are scheduling a build day to begin full prototyping and assembly.

Helena has taken over the VertiGlow project, with the aim of automatically optimizing UV radiation intensity to fit plant needs by adjusting the position of grow lights above a grow bed. She has redesigned the system using two linear actuators to adjust the height and has designed a truss system to allow the system to hold four grow lights.

Santiago and Jonathan built a cart that will allow us to move buckets of water when we need to refill the aquaponic system. It will also be utilized to move materials from the shop to our office a floor below and between the ESW office and our new storage space in Tech.

Aliza, Seeley, and Kyan designed and 3D-printed attachments to the wall of the aquarium tanks to secure and modularize the acrylic walls lining the perimeter, allowing for safe and easy removal.

Jonathan, David, Lily, Calvin, and Kyan have planned the large-scale expansion of our current aquaponic system with the construction of a larger and deeper grow bed to allow for the introduction of larger and more complex plants with deeper root systems. We have purchased a stronger shelf to support the grow bed and associated plumbing, designed the CAD for the new system, and outlined a parts list for the system. We plan to grow more complex vegetables like tomatoes and peppers within this growbed, and hope to increase complexity to strawberries for next year if the vegetables succeed

Brady, Emi, and Kyan have begun designing a semi-automated mealworm farm that generates a food source for the fish. The design has two layers with adult beetles on the top and mealworms on the bottom, separated by a metal mesh. The beetles lay eggs, which fall through the mesh and hatch. We induce pupation by isolating the mealworms and transporting the adult beetles to the top layer to repeat the cycle. We used the old compost bin to make a house for mealworms, and worms are in and living. We will check in regularly next quarter to harvest them. We are currently researching methods by which the harvesting process can be automated and fed to the fish.

Software Much progress has been made on the software team, with new features added to the website for enhanced functionality. Once the sensor box is up and running, we will now be able to export a range of data for further analysis if ever needed. Alongside exporting data, the dashboard will also display data points as they are added from the sensor box.

Aside from data visualization, Software also worked on updating user account data. We created a Google Firebase collection to store user account data, meaning that multiple users could adjust control panel settings and have potential user-specific settings in the future. To display recent control panel activity, a prototype was created to display edits in tabular form.

On the ESP32 front, software created a prototype for using object recognition to determine plant height. The groundwork was laid for more improvements in the future, since plant recognition is spotty. To boost the effectiveness of the ESP32 plant recognition, we managed to port OpenCV libraries to run on a limited ESP32 system. This means that the ESP32 will have access to a computer vision library for optimal performance.

Electronics

Unfortunately, our electronics team was still lacking members to complete projects. Progress was limited beyond soldering work on the sensor box. The outlet box code, which had hardcoded timers for the mechanical ball valves, was updated to have independent timers. A prototype for this code was developed by using an RTOS kernel to manage these timers, so the system is one step closer to being fully remote with soft-coded timers.

Bio

Our biological team has continued to work to ensure the maintained health of our plant and aquatic life by closely monitoring water quality and micronutrient levels.

This quarter, we had a very successful mint and kale harvest, with both flourishing in the system to an unprecedented degree. Our mint plants grew densely, completely filling half of our lower growbed and reaching the height limit. Our kale plants similarly grew to the maximum size of the lower and upper grow beds. We made fresh mint ice cream and kale salads with this quarter’s yields.

We also purchased and added some new Tetras. We quarantined them in a separate tank to ensure they wouldn’t introduce any harmful organisms or parasites into the system. Once it was safe, we added them to the aquarium, where they have lived healthily as the newest members of the AutoAquaponics system!

We are currently fixing a strange nutrient imbalance that has led to highly basic water. One of our working theories is that the decomposition of shedded snail shells has introduced additional calcium into the system. The bio and mechanical design teams are working on solutions.

Follow along to see the AutoAquaponic system and team continue to develop!

NU - SmartTree: Fall 2023 Update

Added by Thomas Hoang 4 months ago

During the Fall quarter, SmartTree continued to improve our design and consult with shop professionals and professors about the different options we had in terms of design and manufacturing methods.

To ensure our design can withstand Evanston’s strong winds, we met with a civil engineering professor to discuss any concerns about our design options. Based on his feedback, we decided to start by having a pole in each corner of the base assembly and have one solar panel mounted to each pole. Then if the structure ends up needing more support, we can add crossbeams between the poles or put sandbags on the flanges that connect the poles to the baseplate.

The first few weeks of the quarter were spent updating the overall CAD model. We split this into various teams: base piece remodeling, solar panel mounting, base piece connection, and electrical box. This helped our members gain experience in CAD, specifically Solidworks, and it gave us a more up to date reference that we can now use to help us figure out the best way to construct what hasn’t been built.

After making significant progress on the CAD models, we ordered a flange, a pole, and a solar panel mount. Even though the full design involves three of each, we purchased one of each for now to be able to assemble one full module and test its rigidity. Toward the end of the quarter, we continued staining and sealing our wood base pieces, picking up where we left off at the end of the Spring quarter. We also began drilling holes in the lid pieces for the poles to go through.

Looking forward, we plan to finish the top portion of SmartTree this quarter, leaving the benches and any remaining electrical projects for the Winter quarter, with a goal of having a fully operational SmartTree by the end of the school year!

NU - AutoAquaponics: Fall 2023 Update

AutoAquaponics Progress From Fall of 2023
Added by Marcos Sanchez 4 months ago

AutoAquaponics ended the year strong; we made meaningful progress towards a more efficient system, and we have much to look forward to in the coming year. To advance our goals, our team received a McCormick Student Advisory Board grant, and we are forever grateful for their support. We also saw new members join our team, Lily Li, Samreen Ibrahim, Adam Elsharkawi, and Lev Rosenburg;. Welcome to the fish bowl y’all!

To continue engagement with the Chicagoland community, our team gave a tour of the system to high schoolers participating in NU Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ High School Initiative Program! These high school students, primarily from minority and low-income backgrounds, come to Northwestern to discover what higher education in STEM has to offer. This includes our magnificent system! Special thanks to NU Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for presenting this opportunity and to our lovely volunteers, Andre and Aliza, who came to help with the tour!

Plumbing

While we waited for membrane filter funding, our team got to work on some other improvements and exciting projects. The final design for our UV light filter was designed and installed in the system. Now, we should not have algae overgrowth.

Our members played around with the idea of a black soldier fly farm to provide a continuous source of food for the fish tank. The idea is to have flies lay their eggs in a container with compost that traps the fly larva and leverages inherent biological processes of the soldier fly life-cycle to automatically collect larvae once they mature. The larva will then be processed and fed to the fish.

Construction of the first few prototypes:

Unfortunately, Evanston got too cold for flies to be out, so our experiments could no longer continue. Check back in the spring when the weather is warm!

As a supplement to the black soldier fly farm, the plumbing team worked on a compost reactor to supply the black soldier farm with a steady stream of new food when the farm is up.

To evaluate the conversion of ammonia to useful nitrates and ensure fish and plant health, the plumbing team decided to add another dissolved oxygen(DO) sensor to the aquaponic system. Workflow has been automated and is now conducted by the biological team.

Hooking up the sensor to the sensor box for readings:

Experimenting with the readings from the DO sensor:

Because our team ran into issues with refilling the sump tank, we came up with a method to get water from the sink one room over (thanks to the NU Formula team for letting us use their room!) instead of carrying buckets of water from the bathrooms.

Algae also plagued the system over the summer, which was a cause for concern. Our plants were not growing optimally because of it, so we got to work. The Plumbing and Biology teams worked together to find a cause and adequate solution. The combination of too much light shining on water led to algae growing on grow cubes and on growbed grow media. For this reason, tinfoil was added to grow cubes and the U-siphon height was lowered so that water is not exposed to the growbed lights. Additionally, the plumbing team reworked solids lifting outlet and membrane filtration to improve fish waste collection in the system and stabilize ammonia and nitrate levels.

Software

On the software side, we worked hard to improve internal workflow efficiency through a variety of means. We used GitHub releases and automated workflows to manage deployments, fixed a npm package dependency conflict by rewriting the typing animation feature, moved firebase security rules and indexes, and added script to run with emulators for backend resources for development purposes.

Alongside these improvements, the dashboard page and control panel now update in real time. This means that the dashboard will display data and the time updated when the system sends the data; the control panel no longer needs to refresh if other users change options. The dashboard page will no longer crash when hovering over a data point with non-existent data as well!

Control panel with no refresh button needed: Lev and Zach making updates to the website:

Electronics

Due to a lack of personnel on the electronics team, the team paused work on the colorimeter and automatic fish feeder. Fortunately, the team managed to work on transferring the sensors to our newly developed PCB board now that we were able to get wires necessary to hook up the sensors. Next quarter, our sensors will be back online and will be able to monitor the system remotely again.

Our members also continued work on a window-cleaning robot from Spring and the outlet box code to improve its function. By the end of next quarter, we should have these tasks completed!

Biology

In terms of biology, we welcomed 6 new fish(tetraquads and guppies) to the tank after we set up our quarantine tank!

Along with new fish, our team aquascaped by adding decorations to the tank. Our fish now have more hiding spots and variety to enjoy.

Adjusting decorations in the tank:

The team attempted to grow kale, basil, mint, spinach, and radishes and successfully harvested said kale, basil, and mint. Unfortunately, the spinach and radishes did not grow in the system, but we have identified the grow cubes as the point of failure. In the future, we now know how to avoid these growth problems.

Smell ya later!

With a heavy heart, we said goodbye to Lester Tai as one of our project managers at the end of the quarter. From 2022, Lester worked tirelessly for the greater good of the club- first as a software team member and later as project manager. A Chicago native and one of the zaniest members of the team, he provided a reliable source of knowledge and labor for our electronics and software teams. We couldn’t have reached milestones without his enthusiastic support and will always remember his wide grin and clever jokes during meetings. Although he's stepping down, he'll back in the spring. It's more of a smell-ya-later than a goodbye for now, so you might see him in the spring quarter blog :) We wish him the best of luck at his Co-op and will miss him dearly!

With all that being said, we are proud of our progress this year and excited to see what the new year brings. Hope to see y’all there :)

NU - Green Wall: Fall 2023 Update

Added by Cameron Moore 4 months ago

Green Wall is almost ready to BUILD!!

This quarter marked a major design shift to a drip irrigation based system as opposed to a hydroponics based system. We made this decision largely to make our system more resilient to the extreme conditions faced in the winter. While this new design will make our system more robust, the switch has also led to its fair share of challenges such as rethinking the plumbing to still create a circular water flow with this new approach and increasing the structural integrity to support this increased weight of the new grow beds.

The new design still consists of grow beds stacked vertically on top of each other. To support the drip irrigation system and allow for additional storage, these grow beds will primarily be comprised of soil as opposed to our previous design of planter pods. To aid in reconstructability, the middle grow beds are designed to be identical.

This design has also incorporated some creative new design ideas. For instance, we will be covering the grow beds in panels of moss, which will naturally help insulate our system while adding an easy to maintain, year round source of green to the wall. This not only provides aesthetic benefits but also increases the wall’s ability to absorb carbon.

As we finish up our designs and start to order materials we will be getting to the shop. This quarter we will continue to narrow down our build location with the hopes of building right by Ford! This location will show off our Green Wall to all of campus and everyone driving down Sheridan.

Stop by our Green Wall meeting times to get involved! We meet Sundays at 4 PM and Tuesdays at 7 PM at Ford G201.

Solar Powered Community Fridge: University of Illinois Chicago Communal Fridge

The team & stakeholders consider the project completed. Tests of the solar array were done under conditions to mimic the weather of Chicago, materials were bought, & with the help of Love Fridge Chicago, the structure was built at Patchworks Farms.
Added by Joehdownie Joehdownie 10 months ago

The documents attached include the final Build Day report, our total budget and spending, and relevant photos throughout the entire process.

NU - SmartTree: Spring 2023 Update

Added by Thomas Hoang 11 months ago

During this spring quarter, SmartTree mainly focused on the construction side of things as we finished up the base pieces and started planning and constructing the solar panels' support system.

We encountered a few problems with our current design choice for solar panel support. From the exploded view of the current model seen below, we initially planned to have three poles converging into a platform, which will house the connection system of our solar panels. However, this approach made unnecessary choices that hindered the support capability as well as made it more difficult to construct, namely the diagonal angle of the pole.

As such, we decided to switch the design to something a bit more simple yet effective in supporting the solar panels. After a lot of brainstorming sessions and consulting with the shop professionals, we have arrived at the design shown in the sketch below. The new design has 3 straight standing poles, connecting beams, and potentially a small garden at the top of SmartTree. This design would also allow an additional solar panel to be present in the electrical system, increasing the power output!

We have settled on this new design and had wished to start construction as soon as possible. However, the materials took longer to arrive than anticipated, so in the meantime, we start on the treatment of wood in the base pieces. This includes staining and varnishing to ensure water resistivity and rot resistance. By the end of the school year, we had completed 2 out of 4 base pieces and will plan to finish the job next quarter.

We also finished up some small construction jobs such as routering the top lid, adding the rubber seal, and water-jetting pole mounting plates in preparation for the new materials to arrive. On the electrical side, we are designing a waterproof box to house all the electrical equipment, which will also be finalized by next quarter.

We have a lot of things planned for the near future and will try to complete the first prototype of SmartTree very soon. Be on the lookout for future updates!

NU - Green Wall: Spring 2023 Update

Added by Cameron Moore 11 months ago

Green Wall Progress From Spring 2023

In the Spring Quarter, Green Wall made great progress on our project. After many iterations, we have settled on a final design concept. The basic concept consists of 5 grow beds vertically stacked on top of each other. These grow beds are designed to allow for the easy removal of plants allowing for effective maintenance of our systems. Water will be filtered and recirculated through the system, drastically reducing the water demand of the system. Our updated CAD model is shown below.

To go along with our 5 grow bed design, we have also created a plant list. When deciding on our plants, we aimed to choose ones that balance hardiness and aesthetics. The lower grow beds will include larger shrubs such as juniper and laurel while the upper grow beds will include lighter plants such as pachysandra and vines. Moreover, in the center grow bed, we will be growing edible plants including plants and onions!

We plan to begin construction of the wall next fall with the goal to eventually plant in the Spring. We will begin next quarter with prototyping our planters. We have secured our first grant to begin construction and are currently working with facilities to find the best spot for our wall.

Moving into next year, we are excited to announce our sub-team leaders for next year: Lynna Deng for botany, Luke Simmons for construction, and Emi Saegusa and Kyan Shlipak for plumbing.

Project managers Cameron Moore and Ellie Lind are extremely happy with the progress we’ve made this year and are looking forward to what next year brings!

Have a great summer!

NU - AutoAquaponics: Spring 2023 Update

AutoAquaponics Progress From Spring of 2023
Added by Lester Tai 12 months ago

This Spring quarter was a season of change and growth for AutoAquaponics – and one filled with so many proud moments.

If you are new to this blog, have a look at this recent video story from Sarah Aie of The Daily Northwestern outlining the history and future of AutoAquaponics, featuring co-project managers Lester Tai and Marcos Sanchez as well as ESW co-president Yanni Wilcox .

Plumbing

Our plumbing team made many necessary improvements to optimize current solutions in the physical system. We also have some exciting new projects in the works!

Our sump tank and filter bottles were fitted with laser-cut, acrylic lids to prevent evaporation of water in the system. This will reduce the number of laborious sump tank top-offs that our team needs to do.

To prevent the infiltration of hazardous pathogens, we started the design and construction of a UV light filter to be attached after our 3-stage filtration process. We constructed a prototype, but we will need to adjust the residence time to achieve a contact time of 10 seconds by potentially increasing the pipe diameter of its housing.

After experimenting with a bell siphon idea, we ultimately decided on a U-siphon made of PVC pipes to create a greater difference in water levels when flooding and draining the bottom grow bed.

Due to the plumbing team’s sheer number of projects, creating adjustable light fixtures for the top growbed was outsourced to a Northwestern DTC team, led by our very own Kyan Shlipak, to dedicate a quarter to finding a solution. And find a solution they did!

The VertiGrow was completed and successfully raised grow lights according to the needs of the plants growing in the beds. We’re extremely proud of this team for constructing a working prototype! They’ll be adding improvements later in the Fall, so be sure to keep an eye out for them!

The biggest feat that our plumbing team completed was a full redesign of the membrane filtration process! We came to the conclusion that our current membrane filter did not facilitate removal nor the cleaning of filter pads and also allowed for some particles to pass through. For this reason, our team redesigned the membrane filter. Construction will begin in the Fall with the addition of new funds.

Software

On the software side, we finalized user authentication and added a login page to our website. Incoming users will request an account to make modifications towards the remote system:

Recent updates to the control panel and Raspberry Pi code mean user inputted values are sent to our database to be read by the Raspberry Pi automating our system. Now that the RPi code is streamlined, the RPi can easily be phased out and functionally replaced with an ESP32 in the future:

We also made our website even more beautiful by adding animation features, a responsive design, and useful error checking messages to our UI.

And toast notifications:

New, subtler features include adding Firebase App Check to protect the backend from being tampered with by fraudulent clients, fixes to Google Analytics, and a README file.

Electronics

Our electronics team kept up with the latest software developments by developing a printed circuit board (PCB) to replace the sensor box components currently hooked up to the Raspberry Pi interacting with our database. The latest update to the sensor box includes a new distance sensor.

Preparing the sensor box for the new PCB….

We also started work on a colorimeter this quarter that will be used to detect the precise color of our nitrate tests! Unfortunately, the project ran into some trouble with the color sensor, so next quarter, we’ll be starting up with a new color sensor that can output precise values.

Intense discussion on how to adjust RGB values to output the correct color

Tinkering with the colorimeter code

As an update to the previous quarter, we have working timers in our outlet box code, requiring some further integration with existing code to allow for bluetooth connectivity. Finally, we have made progress on streaming video of our system on our website. The code for our ESP32-CAM requires implementation in our system and automatic window cleaning robot.

Biology

In preparation for an exciting end-of-quarter harvest day open to the Northwestern community, our biology team added scallions, leeks, and basil to our already exciting lineup of plants.

Conducting water tests for plant checkups:

To accommodate new additions, we expanded plant growth to our upper growbed and rearranged larger plants here to prevent crowding.

Preparing grow cubes for plants:

Due to the Camallanus worm infection from the previous quarter, our tiger barb had to be euthanized with clove oil. However, it was the last fish to be infected, and our remaining fish in the system are healthy. The biology team finished preparing the quarantine tank to settle new fish into the system. Get ready for new life this coming Fall!

Socials!

AutoAquaponics members know how to enjoy themselves after a hard day’s work. Have a look at these pictures from some of our socials:

Chilling in the pool at the Norris Aquatics Center:

Fay-ling Laures , Lynna Deng , and Marcos Sanchez prepare a wheatgrass smoothie during ESW’s harvest day during engineering week (E-week) at McCormick:

Members of the Northwestern community receive a tour of the AutoAquaponics system:

The software team has a senior send-off dinner at Todoroki in downtown Evanston. Thanks Ben Caterine , Bill Yen , and Edward Lee !

As we neared the final weeks of the quarter, the AutoAquaponics project group secured a grant from the McCormick Student Advisory Board (MSAB), which is exciting news for our projects to be continued in the Fall!

Thank you!

With heavy hearts, we will also be saying goodbye this quarter to our wonderful seniors and our faculty advisor, Professor Harold Kung .

Professor Kung retired at the end of this year, so ESW-NU exec decided to give him a parting gift for serving our chapter for nearly 15 years. We are eternally grateful and wish him the best in retirement!

We officially said goodbye to 5 graduating seniors this year: Bill Yen , Niv Landau , Alejandra Almonte , Ben Caterine , and Edward Lee . 3 of our seniors, Raymonde Council , Aymen Lamsahel , and Johnny Chen will be returning in the fall to pursue graduate degrees or complete a minor at Northwestern. All contributed not only their minds to the project, but they contributed their hearts to the team.

A few seniors pursuing graduate degrees and most of our graduating seniors pictured below: Johnny, Alejandra, Bill, Ben, and Ray. (peep Sandra’s guest appearance!)

Niv Landau

Niv was a dedicated member of the electronics team. He has been with AutoAquaponics from the very beginning, working towards the effective implementation of our sensor and outlet box. He also bravely faced the most daunting beast of the electronics team: the outlet box code. He’s our beloved trooper and resident Florida Man. We wish him the best of luck beyond Northwestern and will miss him dearly!

Alejandra Almonte

While Alejandra joined our electronics team relatively recently, she still found her niche and fulfilled it well. While on the team, she worked on implementing a new distance sensor and preventing the frequent water damage faced by sensors in the sump tank. Her energetic personality charged up the team to advance forward, inspiring people to do their best work. Alejandra was always there to bring people together towards a common goal; for this, we will miss her and her demeanor dearly! We wish her well on her travels and furthering her education!

Edward Lee

Edward is a longtime friend of Bill’s who earlier transferred to Northwestern. When Edward arrived at the school, Bill made sure to recruit him to AutoAquaponics over a lunch reunion – we know talent when we see it! Edward has played a large role in setting up our database, making a great-looking front-end, and providing any assistance to other software team members with warm welcome. If there’s one thing better than his software development skills, it’s his dance moves on Dillo Day. Thanks for being such a serious and funny guy in all the right moments!

Ben Caterine

Ben, our previous software subteam lead, was a charismatic, software engineering powerhouse. He was one of the members that have stuck with the club since the very beginning, laying the groundwork for our website’s control panel and sensor reads. It’s insane how much work he’s put in over the years – from debugging features to mentoring the next generation of software subteam members. Because of his determination and dependability, Ben has secured the future of the AutoAquaponics software team. Thank you for your service Mr. Caterine; we wish you the best of luck in the workforce and will miss you dearly!

Bill Yen

Bill - AutoAquaponics founder, previous PM, and our friend- was always there for our team when we needed him. For every team he worked on, he disseminated a plethora of knowledge and support. He was always our biggest advocate, celebrating our successes and lifting us back up after setbacks. He was the rock upon which AutoAquaponics was built upon, and for that, our club will forever commemorate his dedication towards engineering a more sustainable world. We could not have asked for a better leader these past couple of years; we wish him nothing but the best at Stanford! He deserves it!

And that wraps up our academic year. There are so many more avenues of development and more proud moments to make. Stick around for them next Fall!

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