This year, introductory level students of the Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering are already ahead of the curve as they work in teams conducting research and building functional robot arms.
Students enrolled in EGR 101, Engineering Christian Worldview, are getting hands-on experience with 3D printed pieces, motors, wires and circuit boards. Even though they have not reached their finished product, students are already succeeding in recognizing the benefits of this project.
“Our Introduction to Engineering class is much more than a mere textbook overview,” said Daniel Clark, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “In the course, we form student teams that tackle individual, hands-on projects while explaining engineering concepts in the context of their work.”
Although most students might want an introduction-level course to be easy, the students involved are accepting and say they are excited for the hard work that is going to be done in the class.
“As a freshman, this is an exciting project,” said Nicolette Barker, freshman computer science major. “Going into an engineering program, you wouldn’t expect two weeks in to already be a part of building a robot. It allows me to learn hands on and not just from a book or videos, and that’s amazing. It’s projects like these that make me excited for what my future has to bring.”
While working on the project, students are learning more than computer programs through facing real networking problems, making them feel like they are working in the field.
Noah Jackowitz, sophomore mechanical engineering major, is enjoying the problem-solving aspect of the projects and how it is enhancing his education through challenging him to think, learn and act accordingly to each task.
“I think the project is a great help to us new students,” Jackowitz said. “Not just because it teaches us the skills we need to engineer things, but it teaches us to work together, to solve real-world problems and to meet high expectations on a tight schedule. That’s something I should expect from a real job, and I think it’s great the College of Engineering is helping me to prepare for that.”
While the students work together building robot arms that will demonstrate gripping, wrist rotation and elbow and shoulder movement, they are also building a strong foundation for their future in the world of engineering.