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A Consulting Engineering Model for the EE Capstone Experience

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Arnold Stanley Berger PhD University of Washington, Bothell

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Arnold S. Berger is an Associate Professor and former Chair of the Division of Engineering and Mathematics in the School of STEM at the University of Washington Bothell where he teaches classes in embedded systems, computer system design, digital and analog circuitry. He is also the program administrator for the UWB Capstone program.

Dr. Berger is the author of two books on the subjects of computer architecture and embedded systems.

Before coming to UWB he was an engineer and engineering manager for HP and AMD.

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The ABET-accredited EE degree program at our university was started in 2009 with 24 students. The total enrollment in the program, including BSEE and MSEE students is currently around 250 students. The program has achieved significant support from the surrounding industrial base in our metropolitan area, largely due to the success of its EE Capstone Experience.

The Capstone program was created with several goals • Master the soft-skills necessary for success in industry • Go through a complete product design lifecycle • Engage in community-based educational activities

With these goals in mind the Capstone Experience was designed such that student teams of three or four students would form a small consulting engineering company and then, over the course of two quarter and six months, work on a project submitted by a local company.

The student teams are mentored by an engineer or manager at the company and “managed” at the university by part-time faculty from the local industrial talent pool. The Capstone faculty brings the necessary real-world experience and soft skills, particularly creating and tracking schedules that the students need to be able to execute their projects within the allotted time.

Capstone 1 starts with a development contract signed by the students, the industrial mentor and their faculty advisor. It consists of a research and design phase where the students research the technology they’ll need to actually design their project. Capstone 1 concludes with a detailed project specification that is submitted to the industry sponsor for their approval.

Capstone 2 consists of the actual construction and validation of the project followed by a formal presentation for the company, a colloquium and poster session at UWB and finally a detailed student evaluation by the industry mentor that is used to determine the students’ grades.

Berger, A. S. (2017, June), A Consulting Engineering Model for the EE Capstone Experience Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27458

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