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Engineering Design Opportunities At The United States Military Academy

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.261.1 - 5.261.15

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Paper Authors

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John S. Klegka

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Robert Rabb

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2625

Engineering Design Opportunities at the United States Military Academy

Major Robert J. Rabb and Colonel John S. Klegka United States Military Academy


The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point has developed a program to promote academic activities beyond the basic requirements. With a three semester design sequence, this program can enhance student learning and experience with the design process and give students a head start on their capstone project. Although the academy’s mission is to prepare cadets for future military service and provide them with an undergraduate degree, we have expanded the academic experience with opportunities to conduct research and design work with scientists and engineers in some of the nation’s finest facilities. The Academic Individual Academic Development (AIAD) program is purely voluntary, but over half of the mechanical engineering majors give up free or leave time to participate in it every summer. The AIADs are usually three or four weeks in duration due to the busy cadet summer schedules, but this is ample time to allow the cadets to work on, and sometimes solve, an engineering problem. The Army Materiel Command (AMC) sponsors most of the AIADs, but there have been sponsors from private engineering organizations, NASA, national labs, and even the Air Force. This paper describes the AIAD program, and discusses how feedback from program sponsors can be used to measure student progress toward meeting ABET EC 2000 criteria.

I. Introduction

“I learned a lot from my AIAD experience. The first and most important thing I learned was that engineering takes time and practice. You just cannot be a good engineer without getting your hands dirty.”1

Educating cadets at the United States Military Academy is rewarding and challenging. With many mandatory activities and required classes in the humanities and engineering, finding more time for academics is not an easy task. Moreover, the academy is an undergraduate teaching institution, so some cadets may lack the exposure to graduate students and faculty advisors solving real world, detailed design problems. We currently offer the mechanical engineering majors a three course design sequence over a three semester time frame. The courses are Introduction to Design, which includes machine design, Mechanical Design, which exercises the

Klegka, J. S., & Rabb, R. (2000, June), Engineering Design Opportunities At The United States Military Academy Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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