Roger Life Stories

Roger Life: Senior Design Team Wins Diversity and Inclusion Contest

By Anna Cohen
Engineering design team with model playground

Engineering majors Michaela Curcio, Celeste Hartley, Josh Machado, Corey Mendonca, Kristen Norray, and Christopher Usaty won the Haley & Aldrich essay contest on diversity and inclusion for their Senior Design Project essay, “Redesigning the Built World: An Adaptive and Inclusive Playground for All Users.” The team’s playground design included wheelchair-accessible slides, interactive musical panels, adaptive monkey bars, and other innovations.  

Haley & Aldrich, an engineering and environmental consulting company, awarded 10 essay winners $1,000 and the chance to network in a virtual workshop with Haley & Aldrich leaders. 

Sharing What They Learned: “When we originally were sent an email from our advisor with the contest details, we weren’t even thinking about the prize. Researching inclusivity has been really eye-opening to not only us but those around us, so we were really excited to share all of the things we’ve learned about inclusivity with people beyond our campus community,” Hartley said.   

You Can Make Anything Inclusive: “We didn’t make a full-scale model, but we 3D printed the whole thing. The whole process from start to finish taught us how inclusivity should be a factor when designing products and performing research. It showed us that if you take the time and put in the work, effort, and research into a given field, you can make any product inclusive,” Machado said. 

Focusing on Diversity: “Our generation has had a big focus on inclusivity, and our community at Roger Williams has put a lot of emphasis on diversity. Every faculty member, every senior that graduates from the engineering department, and all the underclassmen will go into the field with the mindset that inclusivity is important. Not only is it something that can be done in clubs and in our social life, but it can be integrated into the way we are educated and into the ways we go out and start our jobs,” said Norray. 

After Graduation: Norray will pursue a Master's of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University. Usaty will work as a Mechanical Tunnel Ventilation Engineer at ARUP Laboratories. 

Redesigning the Built World


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