My name is Ajay Babaria. I am a 2009 Carroll Senior High School graduate from Southlake, Texas. Currently I am a junior pursing my Electrical Engineering and Mathematics degrees with a Minor in Business Administration at SMU.
I chose the Lyle School of Engineering for many reasons. I love how SMU offered a small-school feel while still being situated in the heart of Dallas. Specifically, the Lyle of School of Engineering offered me a great learning environment. The small class sizes makes it possible to get know the professors and staff on a more personal level, making SMU more of a home rather than just another university. The Lyle School also has a large focus on innovation and creativity rather than pure theory and book learning; the focus on innovation along with its great engineering programs made SMU the perfect fit for me.
Along with the relaxed atmosphere provided by SMU, my experience would not be the same without extra-circular activities. I formed the SMU Robotics Club my freshman year and remained the President for two years. The club is currently working with a local middle school to teach robotics. Every few weeks club members go to the school to help the children with robotics. I am also involved in other extra-circular organizations, such as the Indian Students’ Association.
For two semesters I was also employed by Lyle’s design studio, the SMU Innovation Gymnasium, to work on a non-lethal defense system for cargo ships; this amazing opportunity was given to me by one of my professors, who I would not have gotten to know if it were not for the close niched environment that Lyle offers. In recent years, many ships traveling around the horn of Africa have been attacked and captured by pirates for ransom money. Cargo ships do not carry lethal weapons due to port laws, thus a non-lethal defense system is the best form of protection cargo ships can obtain. The defense system, designed by a total of 15 engineering students, incorporated an autonomous surveillance airplane and an offensive based turret system. The surveillance airplane is used to identify pirates from civilians. Once a threat has been identified, the turrets are activated to protect the ships. Each turret contains 6 military-grade training paintball guns, which are typically used by law enforcement for riot control. The paintball guns use special capsaicin filled balls, a substance many magnitudes stronger than pepper spray, to disarm the attackers.
During my second year at SMU I was involved in a design competition for Engineering and Humanity Week by Lyle’s Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity. I chose to enter the Design Competition because it added a real world interdisciplinary perspective to engineering and its focus of spreading awareness of 3rd world conditions. The teams consisted of business, advertising, and engineering majors. Getting to work with not only a group of multidisciplinary engineers, but also business and advertising students made the experience very surreal. The type of communication and other group dynamics completely change when working with people who have no background in your field; this coupled with designing with cost structure and viability made the project much more interesting than any other project that I have been involved in at SMU. The Design Competition and other events during Lyle’s Engineering and Humanity Week has given me one of the best experiences I have had at Lyle; one that I will surely not be forgetting.