It’s one thing to develop a solution to an engineering problem. It’s another to deliver a clear, concise explanation to an audience.
Jordan Kuhr ’21 did both, winning awards at national and international events.
Last April, she presented her project, “Analyzing the Tactile Response of a Mechanical Pipe Organ,” in the Old Guard Competition at a regional meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
In November, her presentation earned her third place in the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.
Kuhr, a mechanical engineering major who now works as a data engineering consultant for Accenture, attributes her success to the skills she developed at Union.
“The way Union structures the liberal arts program, and the way the engineering department focuses so heavily on developing interpersonal skills through group projects and presentations, helps immensely in the real world,” she said. “That’s half the battle.”
Kuhr came upon her project at the suggestion of Prof. Joel Lefever, who heard from an organist about the challenge of playing on various instruments. Many organists practice on electronic keyboards that have a light action. Mechanical tracker organs on which they perform require a heavier touch. Action between instruments is highly variable too.
Kuhr developed a force measurement device to collect data on the effects of key depth, speed of attack and use of components on the organ. Her project is a step in developing a feedback technology that would make a keyboard replicate that of a particular instrument, whether organ, harpsichord or piano.
The project was a natural for Kuhr and her interest in music. She sang in two acapella groups – the Eliphalets and the Garnet Minstrelles – serving as president of both groups her senior year. The Northampton, Mass., native was also a tutor for math and engineering, and a member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.
In her current position, Kuhr is involved with data migration for large companies, which requires a broad range of skills to explain procedures and present results to clients.
“I like the technical side, but I like working with people and doing the organizational, project management work,” she said.