IEEE Hardware Trophy

I am really active with IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). It started my sophomore year at Texas Tech when I joined my student branch. It was not long before I left my sorority because I wanted to spend more time in the electrical department. I then moved to the east coast after college and started to get involve with more of the organization. I have various roles but the one I am the most passionate about is being the student activities chair for the southeast region of the US. I love working with students but one thing under my responsibility is the regions traveling hardware trophy. It’s a tradition started in 1981 but the trophy ran out of space in 2016. Here is the revamp I did with my handy GF.

This is what I was working with at the start:

^^^ FYI, Before I entered into the role, students were taking the oldest plates and just putting them in a plastic bag tapped to the trophy. These plates have a lot of meaning to the students (they are engraved by the branch that won that year) and so putting old plates in a bag was not going to work for me.

The first issue in the revamp was how to make room for new plates without erasing the history of the old plates. No matter how plates are rearranged on the wood board, there was not much room left. Therefore, we had to get creative. I decided to move all information on the winners onto a new plate that can serve as the header plate. I also got a new wooden board:

I used anodized aluminum. the vendor for this plate was

Now I need to figure out what to do for the plates on the new board for future hardware competition winners. I tried out a few different ones:

I did end up going with anodized aluminum black plates. The reason for anodized as opposed to laser plates was that I found anodized ones that are double sided (which would make sense :slight_smile: ) The reason for the double side was so that I can put future plates on the trophy that can get flipped.

The first new plate has already been flipped by Clemson.

Now what about all the old hardware? Well I was not going to throw that away. I decided to make mini trophies of the old material and each plaque was sent back to the schools:

In the end, this was a long project but well worth it. I cant wait for the new trophy to get handed out at this years competition in April.

All settings used were full power and full speed.


Wow, that’s some serious dedication! I’ll bet lots of future EEs will have you to thank for this. Very nice design, layout and completion.

(did UCF ever get one? I was an engineer, but not a spark chaser.)


Terrific upgrade.


They have!! They are actually on the short list of branches I am still trying to track down so I can get them their trophy back! We had a lot of lost contacts with the last year but UCF is actually a strong branch for us in the past. I have judged their ethics teams before and they have a strong program :slight_smile:


BTW, I love the term “spark chaser”. Early on in studying I accidentally shorted an outlet with an o-scope. I spot welded the probes and would happily take “spark chaser” over “spot welder” any day :slight_smile:


That’s just amazing. What wonderful work!


This is really wonderful! Love that you kept the historical significance but updated it to future proof it.


I love your dedication to preserving the accomplishment and honoring the history.

The creative way for them to own the history of the original was such a great idea.

They are fortunate to have you as a part of the organization.


I love the little placques! It’s a great way for the schools to actually be able to keep it at their schools when they’ve had to pass the original on to the next winner. It might even help motivate other students who may not know about the programs. Great job!


Everything about this make is just amazing! The solution for the older listings by shrinking them up and all together – the years being flippable that acts as material storage and the next engraving spot – and mind blown with reusing the old plaques to make individual plaques that each department can hang up as decoration and inspiration in the department offices!

Amazing job, and I’m not surprised that you can’t wait to unveil it!


Wonderful project, and the flipping of the plates is genius!