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Cougars & Tigers Together (CATTs) Program

Program Overview and Expectations

Through CATTs, diverse teams of students from Clemson University and Washington State University (WSU) Everett will collaborate in a year-long, two-semester capstone project with the goal of developing a solution for a problem statement developed by The Boeing Company. These teams will be comprised of students from multiple disciplines (e.g., engineering, computer science, communications, management, marketing, etc.) and mixed between each institution. In addition to developing a technical solution, these multidisciplinary teams will develop a business plan and marketing strategy to support product development. Student teams will also engage with younger students (K-12 and college) in their respective communities through various portals to promote STEM education and the value of education.

Clemson and WSU are well-positioned for such a collaboration due their collective strengths in engineering education, global reputation and land-grant history, as well as their close geographic proximity to Boeing (Everett, WA and North Charleston, SC) and existing relationships with the company. Proximity to key Boeing suppliers, as well as research partners, such as Microsoft, would create unparalleled access to ongoing engineering and advanced manufacturing innovations.

As envisioned in its pilot year, this program will support a diverse team of eight students (four from each institution; two Engineering/Computing, one Business, one from marketing/communications) mentored by a team of faculty from both institutions and representative(s) from Boeing. The student participants will be selected by the faculty leaders from each institution.

Apply by July 15, 2021!

Project Description

Project Sponsor: The Boeing Company

Subject: Autonomous Cabin Disinfection (or “Cabin Design for Disinfection”)

Technical Basis:

  • Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing potential for future pandemics, rapid and thorough disinfection of airplane cabins is a high priority both for public safety and to manage airline operating costs. The goal of this project is to develop a solution that can be deployed during post-flight cleaning that eliminates viral and bacterial contamination, reduces aircraft turnaround time, and can be operated without requiring additional ground crew.
  • Multiple technologies and approaches for disinfection (e.g., mechanical, chemical, and UV-based) exist that could be adapted for use in aircraft cabins. In addition, changes in cabin configuration, materials, and seat/bin design could result in an overall safer, cleaner system.
  • This project will look at the whole system, identify potential solutions, and develop prototypes. (Note: Per Cedar, Bryan’s interest is in UV disinfection)

Potential Business:

  • Turnaround time, even outside of a pandemic, is a major cost concern for commercial airlines, so any improvement in performance that decreases turnaround time will be extremely valuable to Boeing’s customers.
  • Finding safe and effective approaches to disinfecting aircraft during pandemic conditions could assist the airline industry in building customer confidence and recovering from the dramatic loss of business the industry is currently experiencing.
  • This technology could be applied in a multitude of different environments although aircraft cabins and cockpits are the primary concerns for this project.


  • The goal is enhanced disinfection of the cabin and quick turnaround times for the airlines.
  • Should investigate a broad solution space to identify viable systems approaches.
  • Autonomous disinfection (e.g., a device that uses several Far-UVC wands) has the potential to decrease personnel costs.
  • Additional study is required to characterize kill-times for bacteria and viruses, develop operational scenarios and timelines, and address potential health & safety hazards associated with the use of the candidate systems.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Apply engineering, business, and marketing principles to develop solutions that address stakeholder needs
  • Demonstrate effective communication with a variety of audiences
  • Collaborate on a diverse multidisciplinary team to develop and achieve mutual goals
  • Apply project management principles to a long-term collaborative project
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the value of diversity (culture, discipline, experience, etc.) in the design/development process


July 15, 2021 – Application deadline.
Apply for the CATTs program here!

August/September 2021 – The project will begin with an in-person kick-off event in August/September 2021 in Everett, where the project teams will meet each other and learn about the project problem statement from Boeing representatives. Over the academic year, teams will work together with the use of remote collaboration platforms throughout the duration of the project.

April 2022 – The project will conclude with an event at Charleston/Clemson* in April 2022 at which the CATTs team will present its final deliverable to company, academic, and community leaders. The team may also participate in one or more business plan and/or pitch competitions hosted by Clemson and/or Washington, depending on the relevance of the selected project. Ideally, CATTs participants will receive special consideration for Boeing internships and/or job placement upon graduation. 

* Travel expenses will be covered.



  • As envisioned in its pilot year, this program will support a diverse team of eight students (four from each institution):
    • Two Engineering or Computing students (Engineering students will earn capstone credit through participation)
    • One Business student 
    • One Marketing or Communications student
  • Student participants will be mentored by a team of faculty from both institutions and representative(s) from The Boeing Company, and will be selected by the faculty leaders from each institution.
  • Preferably seniors graduating in 2022. Juniors are still welcome to apply.