Asee peer logo

Enriching The Freshman Experience With Juniors

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Intro to Engineering: Not Just 1st Year Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.521.1 - 8.521.6



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

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

Session 1153

Enriching the Freshman Experience with Juniors

John Farris and Hugh Jack

Grand Valley State University


Design teams consisting of three first year students and three third year students were created to design and manufacture a device to meet the entrance requirements for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student design contest. The first year students were enrolled in a course entitled “Introduction to Computer Aided Design and Manufacture” and the third year students were enrolled in a course entitled “Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control.” The authors conceived of this combined course design project to improve the quality of the design projects in both courses. Although the project was not completely successful in improving the quality of the design project other important, if not anticipated benefits were observed. This project created social and professional ties between juniors and freshmen that lead to a higher level of enthusiasm for the engineering program. It also provided the freshmen an opportunity to observe junior level students including work habits/organization, use of calculus and other fundamentals and writing. The freshmen also benefited by being mentored by the juniors. The juniors benefited by getting some 'management' experience and reducing the total time required to fabricate their designs.

1. Introduction

The freshman year of our engineering program is mainly composed of non-engineering fundamental courses. In addition, our freshman year is offered on a campus separated from the engineering school. As a result there is a lack of contact between the freshman class and the engineering school in general. The faculty has observed some unfortunate effects of the separation. Some students lose interest because they spend a year or longer before they attend classes on the engineering campus. They also lose the benefit of associating with upper class students and seeing the activities they are involved in. This paper addresses an approach to overcoming this problem by having freshman and junior students work together on a design and build project. The project used was the ASME student design competition.

The project involved assigning teams of three freshmen to teams of three juniors. The juniors were responsible for the main design concept, mathematical analysis, the final construction and the overall performance. The freshmen worked with the team to identify one or more subsystems that they could design and build. In many cases this was a small wheeled cart. The freshmen were responsible for producing parts and drawings of their design.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Jack, H., & Farris, J. (2003, June), Enriching The Freshman Experience With Juniors Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12061

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015