Engineering Student Takes Top Prize

May 01, 2005 | Tara Jeske

Walla Walla College mechanical engineering student Dustin Whipple recently won first place in a competition for engineers with his presentation, “A Finer Way for Spinal Distraction.” The graduating senior spoke before the Columbia Basin section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in the Old Guard Oral Presentation Contest held in Richland, Wash.

The contest judges an engineer’s ability to deliver oral presentations. Whipple’s presentation discussed his design for improving a specific back surgery. His design reduces pain and stitches, shortens hospital stays, and cuts costs.

Whipple has interned for three summers at Depuy Spine, a company based in Raynham, Mass., and known for the development, manufacture, and marketing of innovative solutions of a wide range of spinal pathologies. His design is currently being manufactured and will be tested for FDA approval in the future.

Whipple received $500 for winning first place in the Columbia Basin section, and competed in the regional competition in Lacey, Wash., April 1–3.

Paul Robertson, also a graduating senior mechanical engineering student, received an honorable mention for his presentation, “Design Tool for a McPherson Strut Front Suspension.”