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UIndy sophomore engineering major Payton Staman designed and built his own battery-powered longboard skateboard to get around campus.  He poses for photos and then, controling the board by a wireless handheld device, buzzes around Smith Mall on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.   (Photo:  D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)
Summer of Opportunity

If you see Payton Staman ’20 around campus, he’ll likely be zooming along on his electric skateboard to get to his next class.

The Rockford, Ill., native and mechanical engineering major avoided the $1,500 price tag to buy a motorized board by combining his ingenuity and creativity to build one himself.

Setting aside money from his internship to cover the cost for parts, the board took around 60 hours to build over six weeks. Staman hit a few (not literal) road bumps along the way as he designed the electrical and mechanical components.

“It’s so enjoyable to ride, I feel like it pays off,” he said, adding that he was able to make a few improvements in battery life and speed by doing his own research.

UIndy sophomore engineering major Payton Staman designed and built his own battery-powered longboard skateboard to get around campus. He poses for photos and then, controling the board by a wireless handheld device, buzzes around Smith Mall on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The skateboard wasn’t the only project where Staman applied the skills he’s learning in the R. B. Annis School of Engineering. He’s also had the chance to design and print a fidget spinner using a 3-D printer. It wasn’t a class assignment, but just something he took on for fun.

While those projects were a fun challenge, professional development is a core part of the UIndy engineering program. Over the summer, Staman interned at Woodward Inc., a leading manufacturer of aerospace control systems that supplies engine parts for General Electric. He spent much of his time creating instructions for Woodward’s units.

“I had to understand how everything was put together and assembled. It’s a really valuable connection from the engineering to hands-on technician world,” Staman said.

Staman is a recipient of the Howard D. Coleman Scholarship, which helped connect him to the Woodward internship. He said one of the big takeaways from his internship was learning the value of “applying yourself to your environment.”

“As soon as you start asking questions about what you can do instead of sitting there thinking you don’t have very much work to do, that’s when you really start getting toward working on really cool things and making the networking connections,” he said.

Staman said UIndy’s focus on critical-thinking and problem-solving skills prepared him well for a successful internship.

“UIndy engineering has a very different approach to exposing students to engineering than most schools. It’s much more realistic, problem-solving skills and less theoretical than some schools offer. That was very strongly connected to the work I had as an intern,” he said.