San Jacinto College students assist engineer with wing design patent

06.22.2017 | By

Project was coordinated through the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program

PASADENA, Texas – When retired control systems engineer James Lawrence needed assistance with his patent for a new wing design, a team of San Jacinto College students stepped up to the challenge.  

Alex Gonzalez, Giovanna Trevizo and Ronald Lloyd worked with San Jacinto College Professor Nate Wiggins through the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) to assist with a computer-aided design (CAD) graphic and wind flow simulation for Lawrence’s patent. They not only successfully completed and delivered the product on time, they were recognized with an award from the University of Houston-Clear Lake Student Conference for Research and Creative Arts. 

“When I heard that he (Lawrence) needed assistance with this patent, I knew our students could step up to the plate and the get the job done,” said Wiggins, a math and engineering professor who also oversees the Artificial Intelligence Technology (AIT) Lab at San Jacinto College. “We have the graphics capabilities here, plus our students are always eager to gain this type of industry experience at the undergraduate level and make their mark in engineering.”

San Jacinto College is an Alliance Partner of SATOP, a cooperative program among the states of Florida, New Mexico, New York and Texas that provides free technical assistance and strives to transfer the knowledge and technology of the space program to small businesses. Lawrence is the owner of Lawrence Aviation Services LLC and applied for engineering assistance through SATOP. This allowed San Jacinto College to respond and help with his patent. 

Lawrence said his next step is to compare the results of the fluid flow simulation from the students with a wind tunnel test of the physical part. For Trevizo, who is studying engineering, this opportunity gave her a chance to apply her classroom knowledge to a real-world setting. She hopes to one day work in the aerospace industry.

“I applied everything that Professor Wiggins taught us in the design of the wing and a vortex generator,” said Trevizo. “I never imagined I would get this chance. From what I learned through this project, I know it will help me in my engineering studies at the university level.”

In addition to providing assistance through SATOP, San Jacinto College students are also working on projects that include a hologram chemistry set with Sheer Industries and humanoid robotics in the AIT Lab, supported by the Bridges to STEM Careers program, with funding from the National Science Foundation. 

All science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research and activities at San Jacinto College are supported by the College’s STEM Council. For more information, visit

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.