Washington State University and Clemson University students listen to Nichole Bascue, a WSU Everett student and team member, during a recent meeting in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Washington State University and Clemson University students listen to Nichole Bascue, a WSU Everett student and team member, during a recent meeting in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Students and Boeing team up to disinfect airplanes faster

A new career program is teaching WSU Everett and Clemson students about project engineering and marketing.

EVERETT — With support from the Boeing Co., a new program that prepares college students for careers in aerospace is getting a test run at Washington State University in Everett and Clemson University in South Carolina.

Five WSU students and five Clemson students have teamed up to develop an autonomous system that can rapidly disinfect airplane cabins at a reasonable cost to airlines.

The group, which calls itself CATTS — WSU Cougars and Clemson Tigers Together — is made up of engineering, business, marketing and communications students.

Since June, the team has been meeting and working virtually.

The group met for the first time in October when the Clemson students visited the Pacific Northwest for five days and attended classes at WSU in Everett.

Meeting in person and “getting to know everyone is good for the team and good for the project,” said Kenneth Graham, a senior marketing major at Clemson and a team member.

Boeing, which operates commercial airplane assembly factories in Renton, Everett and North Charleston, South Carolina, is footing the bill for the team’s project.

This year, Boeing consolidated production of the Boeing 787, which had been assembled in Everett, at the company’s South Carolina factory. The South Carolina plant, which delivered its first 787 in 2012, is about 230 miles from Clemson University. The last Everett-built Dreamliner rolled off the assembly line at the Paine Field factory in March of this year.

“I think this is a natural pairing because Boeing has major locations in Everett and South Carolina,” said Jacob Murray, associate professor of electrical engineering at WSU Everett, who is co-leading the project with Brad Putman, a professor of civil engineering at Clemson University.

Earlier this year, the two professors contacted Boeing to ask if the Chicago-based airplane-maker would support the two-university program.

When Boeing said yes, the project got underway.

“At WSU Everett, collaboration is in our DNA,” Chancellor Paul Pitre said. “As we prepare the next generation of aerospace thinkers and leaders — many of whom will work at Boeing – it makes sense to partner and model the kind of creative collaboration our industry partners want.”

Jacob Murray, a professor of electrical engineering at WSU Everett, speaks to WSU and Clemson students during class meeting recently in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jacob Murray, a professor of electrical engineering at WSU Everett, speaks to WSU and Clemson students during class meeting recently in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The team has a year to develop an autonomous system that can disinfect airplane cabins. Students could not discuss the project or their progress because they signed a non-disclosure agreement with Boeing.

“Airlines are looking for ways to efficiently and quickly disinfect the aircraft’s interior,” Boeing wrote in a recent report.

An airline typically readies a single-aisle airplane for its next flight in 30 minutes, so “the target disinfection duration is 10 minutes,” the report said.

The team toured Boeing’s aircraft assembly plant and maintenance provider Aviation Technical Services at Paine Field in Everett, and Electroimpact, a Mukilteo company that designs and manufactures aerospace assembly tools.

In April, WSU Everett students will travel to Clemson University.

There the team will present the completed project, including a business plan and marketing campaign, to Boeing executives.

In the meantime, they will continue to work on the project virtually.

Being on a team with engineers, industrial designers and business students has been an eye-opening experience, said David Nurminen, who is majoring in business management at Clemson.

“I learned a lot about how engineers tackle problems and how business people tackle problems. I’ve grown to appreciate that, as well as learning from them and their different models,” said Nurminen, 22, whose professors encouraged him to apply for the program.

Nichole Bascue, 29, is using the skills she’s learned as an integrated strategic communication major at WSU Everett to create the group’s marketing and branding materials.

“I am going to be helping them get their names out there, so I am their launch pad,” Bascue said.

“Providing students with opportunities to address real-world challenges through experiential learning is at the core of a Clemson education,” Clemson Provost Bob Jones said. “The knowledge and experience these students will gain from the ability to directly interface with Boeing highlight the benefits of industry partnerships in higher education.”

Boeing is providing the group with $12,500 to pay for travel expenses.

“We are proud to support students in the states where many of our employees live and work,” said Craig Bomben, vice president of Boeing Flight Operations.

Boeing is a large employer of Clemson and WSU graduates, the company said.

“This unique partnership helps facilitate a robust talent pipeline while helping students fulfill their career ambitions,” Bomben said.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: @JanicePods.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Business

The Safeway store at 4128 Rucker Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Kroger and Albertsons plan to sell these 19 Snohomish County grocers

On Tuesday, the grocery chains released a list of stores included in a deal to avoid anti-competition concerns amid a planned merger.

Helion Energy CEO and co-founder David Kirtley talks to Governor Jay Inslee about Trenta, Helion's 6th fusion prototype, during a tour of their facility on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Inslee energized from visit to Everett fusion firms

Helion Energy and Zap Energy offered state officials a tour of their plants. Both are on a quest to generate carbon-free electricity from fusion.

Awards honor employers who promote workers with disabilities

Nominations are due July 31 for the awards from the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment.

Bruce Hallenbeck, 4, picks out Honeycrisp apples for his family at Swans Trail Farms on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. The farm is now closed for the season. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Study: Washington residents would pay more for homegrown goods

Local online shoppers are on the look out for the made in Washington label.

Aurora Echo, owner of Wildly Beloved Foods, begins making cavatelli pasta with one of her Bottene pasta machine on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Clinton, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Whidbey artisanal pasta maker shares her secrets

For Aurora Echo of Wildly Beloved Foods in Clinton, “sharing food is so ancient; it feels so good.”

Lynnwood
New Jersey auto group purchases Lynnwood Lexus dealership land

Holman, which owns Lexus of Seattle in Lynnwood, bought property on which the dealership resides.

Two couples walk along Hewitt Avenue around lunchtime on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett businesses say it’s time the city had its own Chamber of Commerce

The state’s seventh-largest city hasn’t had a chamber since 2011. After 13 years, businesses are rallying for its return.

Students Mary Chapman, left, and Nano Portugal, right, work together with a fusion splicer and other equipment during a fiber optic technician training demonstration at Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sno-Isle students on the path to becoming fiber professionals

The state will roll out $1.2 billion to close gaps in internet access. But not enough professionals are working to build the infrastructure.

Washingtonians lost $250M to scammers in 2023

Identity theft, imposter scams and phony online ads were the most common schemes, a new study says.

LETI founder and president Rosario Reyes, left, and LETI director of operations Thomas Laing III, right, pose for a photo at the former Paroba College in Everett, Washington on Saturday, June 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Woman brings Latino culture to business education in Snohomish County

Rosario Reyes spent the past 25 years helping other immigrants thrive. Now, she’s focused on sustaining her legacy.

Annie Crawley poses for a photo with her scuba gear at Brackett’s Landing near the Port of Edmonds on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 in Edmonds, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Edmonds ocean activist to kids: Life is better under the sea

From clownfish to kelp, Annie Crawley has been teaching kids and adults about the ocean’s wonders for three decades.

Reed Macdonald, magniX CEO. Photo: magniX
Everett-based magniX appoints longtime aerospace exec as new CEO

Reed Macdonald will take the helm at a pivotal time for the company that builds electric motors for airplanes.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.