Alumnus uses degree to benefit his alma mater

Alumnus Adham Baioumy '19 working on the new STEM building

Alumnus Adham Baioumy ’19 remembers the exact moment he became interested in mechanical engineering a decade ago. He was in middle school, and his father announced to him and his three brothers that he had ordered a robot. “My first thought was just, ‘Wow,’” he said. “My second was whether it could help me with my homework.”

But when the “robot” arrived the following week, he and his brothers were disappointed. They had pictured a humanoid figure with nearly human intelligence capable of carrying out human-like tasks. What arrived was a Lego kit. “It sat untouched for a week or two,” Baioumy recalled, “but eventually my curiosity got the best of me, and I went to check it out.”

He used the kit to make a remote-control race car, and, to his surprise, that experience provided more value than a robot assisting him with his homework ever could. “That was when my passion for mechanical engineering first started,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe how much fun I had doing it.”

Baioumy is now a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Washington Bothell and still finds his work to be just as fun as he did all those years ago. In fact, he is currently working on what he said is one of his most rewarding projects yet: the new STEM building now in construction on campus. “As a STEM graduate, it feels pretty incredible to now be investing the skills I gained in my classes back into the school,” he said. “It feels very symbolic.”

Setting high ambitions

Baioumy has been doing impressive work since he was a UW Bothell student. His sophomore year, he co-founded TrickFire Robotics, a student-led robotics team that provides hands-on education through work on large-scale projects.

Since 2016, the TrickFire Robotics team has traveled annually to the Kennedy Space Center to represent UW Bothell at the NASA Robotics Mining Competition, a competition in which 50 college teams design and build a rover — a planetary surface exploration device — capable of mining on the surface of the moon.

Baioumy’s passion for mechanical engineering during his undergraduate years impacted people here on earth, too. Most notably the life of Reese Armstrong, a 13-year-old girl who was born with a misshapen left hand. Reese’s father, Brian Armstrong, asked the University for assistance, and when his call for help was shared with Baioumy’s class, he and then fellow student Michael Meier ’19 jumped at the opportunity.

They worked together to manufacture a prosthetic hand for Armstrong, which allowed her to lift a glass, hold her dog and even go up a climbing wall. “She uses that hand to this day,” Baioumy said. “I know because I am still in touch with her dad. Being able to work on something that makes such a positive, significant impact on a person’s life, that’s what I love most about the field.”

Working for others

Now a graduate working at Johnson Controls, a company that makes self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology for “smart” buildings, Baioumy continues to help people who are either injured or disabled. One of his recent projects was creating a smart system for an intensive care burn unit.

When a person’s skin is severely burned, he explained, the body loses its ability to regulate its temperature, causing it to fluctuate heavily between extreme highs and lows. “My job was to create a system that can measure a patient’s decrease or increase in temperature and then respond accordingly,” Baioumy said.

“When the temperature drops, the room immediately goes into rapid heating mode and heats the room to 100 degrees in five to 10 minutes. Conversely, when a person’s body temperature increases, the room turns on an exhaust system that removes hot air as quickly as possible to cool down the patient.”

Coming full circle

Baioumy’s current project is the new STEM building on campus where he is in charge of creating and installing smart systems in the engineering and chemistry labs. These systems are extremely important as they are responsible for expelling fumes that can be dangerous to breathe.

STEM building
The new STEM building under construction

“I want to do a great job on this project and really demonstrate all that I gained as a graduate of the School of STEM,” he said. “I know a lot of students will be inspired in that building and will take what they learn in those classrooms to benefit their communities, just as I have tried to do.

“To play a part in that, well, it feels pretty incredible.”

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