The MIT Mechanical Engineering
De Florez Award Competition

May 14, 2024

2024 Competition Winners

Undergraduate Science:

1st prize:

  • Jason Chen: "Modeling the Isentropic Compression of Non-Ideal Gas Mixtures"

2nd prize:

  • Reyna Ayala: "Drag Forces on Plastic Bag Marine Debris"

3rd Prize:

  • Mario Ibrahim and Paul Lilin: "Crack formation in drying colloidal suspensions"

Undergraduate Design:

1st prize:

  • Abraham Krebs, Ben Carlson, and Jacob Rodriguez: "Walking Oligomeric Robotic Mobility System Field-Reconfigurable Lunar Robots"

2nd prize:

  • Thao Do, Ansel Garcia-Langley, and Jessica Lam: "Deep Sea Sediment Sampler"

3rd Prize:

  • Shreya Agarwal, Malia Smith, and William (Kanay) Okolo: "nami: water bottle cleaning station"

Graduate Science:

1st prize:

  • Bastien Aymon, Jiayi Liu, and SeongHyeon Kim: "How to cook the perfect pasta: A scientific investigation"

2nd prize:

  • Bianca Champenois: "Overcoming Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Active Selection of Training Points to Predict Extreme Event Statistics"

3rd Prize:

  • Rachel Sun: "Micro-Inertia Design Framework for Tuning Ultrasound Wave Propagation"

Graduate Design:

1st prize:

  • Aditya Ghodgaonkar: "Design of High-Performance, Low-Cost Drip Emitters for Affordable and Resilient Water-Efficient Irrigation"

2nd prize:

  • Diego Quevedo Moreno and Jonathan Tagoe: "A Soft Robotic Simulator for Studying Implantable Ventilators"

3rd Prize:

  • Joseph Ntaimo: "Segway Bots"

The de Florez awards are given to Course 2 students demonstrating "Outstanding Ingenuity and Creative Judgment" in areas that utilize mechanical engineering knowledge or practice.
The 2024 award purse is $25,000, with individual prizes up to $2,500.
We invite entries from undergraduate students/teams and graduate students/teams.



Engineering Design

Use MechE principles/practices to synthesize and create an ingenious design. This could be a piece of software, a new machine element, a process, a new circuit, a testing apparatus or technique, a robot, a consumer product, etc. A working, realized design is mandatory; you must have created it, and you must show or demonstrate this.

Engineering Science

Discover or generate new scientific understanding or principles key to advancing the practice of MechE, for example a theoretical model, or a numerical solution technique. You must state how your innovation will contribute to the field, and show proof that your understanding/principles are correct. This contest is not for early stage 'ideas' about new understanding/theory/principles.

The Contest Organizers and Judges value and aim to recognize outstanding innovation in both areas.


Entries Due Wednesday, April 10th, 11:59 pm


The contest is open to MIT Mechanical Engineering students enrolled in one of our full-time SB, MS, MEM, LGO, Engineer's, or PhD programs, including the WHOI Joint Program. Visiting students are not eligible.

You may submit as an individual or as a team. We ask that team sizes are restricted to no more than three students. The competition handles team contributions as follows:

  1. (1) the team leader (the person signing up) needs to be present during the competition to demonstrate the work to the judges
  2. (2) you may only be a team leader on one team
  3. (3) if the team leader is an undergraduate student, the poster will compete in the undergraduate category; if the team leader is a graduate student, the poster will compete in the graduate category.
  4. (4) any prize money earned will be distributed equally amongst the team members.
  5. (5) the poster must acknowledge all the team members
  6. (6) the poster must also acknowledge any contributors who are not in the team
  7. (7) it is your responsibility to ensure that anyone else who contributed to the work, who is not in the team, approves your submission to this competition. You will be asked to confirm this when signing up.

Questions should be addressed to Prof. van Rees at

How to sign up

NOTE: The submission period for entries is now closed for the 2024 competition.

Teams should submit one form under the leader's name; the form should indicate all of the team members in the space provided. The form contains the following required information:

  • Full name(s)
  • Permanent address, phone, and email (leader only for teams)
  • Project title and description
  • Confirmation that you will demonstrate a working prototype in-person or on a screen, or offer compelling evidence that your new theory or principle is correct (exceptions may be made for unusual cases).
  • Indicate whether you will be submitting in the undergraduate or graduate category and in the design or science category.

Once accepted

Accepted applications will be announced on April 12th and a poster template will be provided at that time. Each contestant must prepare a PDF of their poster using this template and submit it to Lisa Maxwell ( via email by April 26th at 11:59 pm. This poster is required!

We will have your poster printed, mounted, and delivered to the competition. You may not print your own poster.

Prize Distribution

Winners will be announced at the competition on May 14th. A physical check will be sent to the address submitted on your entry form. All prizes are subject to applicable taxes.


Tuesday, May 14th, 3:00 - 6:00PM
Johnson Skating Rink, W32-101

Competition Schedule

3:00PM - 4:00PM: Set-Up Time - Students set-up all demonstrations at their stations.

4:00PM - 5:30PM: Presentation Time - Judges will be circulating.

5:30PM - 5:45PM: Judge's Conference

5:45PM - 6:00PM: Winners Announcement


You will be allotted a half table (~30in x 36in) and/or appropriate floor space, a shared power strip, and an easel for your poster. Additionally, you should use whatever you feel best gets your point across; if you have a short slideshow (no more than 5 slides), bring your own computer.

For Design Projects

Demonstrate a working prototype of your entry in-person, or via video.

For Science Projects

Show proof that your understanding/principles are correct.

Ultimately, the judges want you to be clear on what your contribution/innovation is and why it is important. A panel of faculty, research scientists and graduate students will decide the winners.


MARCH 1889 - NOVEMBER 1962
Admiral Luis de Florez, a 1911 MIT graduate, established a trust to support awards to recognize students for "outstanding ingenuity and creative development." Each year, four awards are given in Course 2 and one is given in Course 16. Luis de Florez was influential in the development of early flight simulators.

He received:
  • The 1943 Collier Trophy – One of the most prestigious awards for aeronautical achievement in the United States for his work in training combat pilots and flight crews.
  • The Legion of Merit in June 1945

Admiral de Florez was the first director of technical research at the CIA. The main building complex at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division is named after him. Admiral de Florez died in 1962.

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