By Amanda Chong
After countless hours working in labs and troubleshooting last-minute problems, seniors in the School of Engineering celebrated the completion of their capstone projects at the 43rd Annual Senior Design Conference last Thursday.
The projects are the result of a year-long journey that required students to synthesize knowledge from engineering classes, and more often than not, think on their feet. Fellow students, university faculty and staff, alumni and members of the community gathered to observe the fruits of their labor and evaluate the 51 presentations.
“It’s where you bring to bear everything you’ve learned,” said Ruth Davis, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Engineering, “and it gives you a chance to really pull together what you might have thought of as being encapsulated in different portions.”
Senior design projects capture the essence of the School of Engineering by allowing students to develop hands-on experience and practice innovation in a responsible and thoughtful manner. Student teams worked closely with faculty advisors throughout the course of their senior year to plan, prototype and build products that will positively impact their community.
The culmination of students’ work was then showcased in a 30-minute presentation at the conference to a panel of community and alumni judges who work in the respective industry.
This experience is a highly coveted asset, considering that Santa Clara is in the heart of the highly technical Silicon Valley.
“Many of the judges who attended the annual event are SCU alumni who enjoy returning to see how the school has grown,” said Davis.
Former classes have set a high standard for future students to follow – judges have been impressed by the quality of projects, providing high marks for form and execution as well as holistic skills like communication and ethical considerations.
Projects from this year’s conference covered a gamut of topics, ranging from mobile applications that measure the health of your vocal chords to water filtration systems that cool water while being filtered. Many students took the opportunity to dive into prospective career paths, including Tyler Sawyer, a senior electrical engineering major. Building and designing his “electronic drum gloves” allowed him to explore the industry of product design that he hopes to someday work in.
“When you’re actually designing a product, you need to think about all of the aspects at once rather than focusing on one area and moving to another,” said Sawyer.
Sawyer hopes to expand on his project idea in the future, but is satisfied with the progress that his team has made throughout the past year.
As current seniors wrap up final touches on their projects and prepare for graduation, members of the junior class in the School of Engineering are beginning to embark on their own journeys. According to Davis, next year’s senior design conference should be exciting but challenging, considering that the class of rising seniors is 50% larger than this year’s. Davis is confident that students will uphold the tradition of excellence that past classes have maintained.
“You have to go out and learn something new, and we hope we’ve provided you with the skills that you need to be able to do that,” said Davis. “Because that’s something that you’re going to do on the job everyday.”
Contact Natalia Pavlina at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408)554-4852.