Asee peer logo

Freshman Engineering Problem Solving with MATLAB for All Disciplines

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Uses for MATLAB in Mechancial Engineering

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Roche de Guzman Hofstra University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Roche de Guzman obtained his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI in 2008. He had postdoctoral trainings at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Winston-Salem, NC) and at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, MI) prior to becoming an Assistant Professor at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY) in 2014. He is currently teaching and has taught ENGG 010 (Computer Programming for Engineers), ENGG 081 (Bioengineering), ENGG 118 (Biomaterials), ENGG 108 (Biomaterials Lab), ENGG 199 (Research), and ENGG 143G (Senior Design). His research interests are: Biomaterials and Mathematical Modeling. He is an active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and Society for Biomaterials (SFB).

visit author page


John Carmine Vaccaro Hofstra University

visit author page

John Vaccaro grew up on Long Island in Levittown, New York. After graduating with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Hofstra University (’06), Dr. Vaccaro went on to earn his Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering in 2011 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His area of research is in the field of experimental fluid mechanics and aerodynamics with a focus on wind tunnel testing. Specifically, he has collaborated with the Northrop Grumman Corporation researching the use of flow control in aggressive engine inlet ducts.
After graduation, Dr. Vaccaro held a lead engineering position with General Electric Aviation in Lynn, Massachusetts. There, he designed the fan and compressor sections of aircraft engines. He frequently returns to General Electric Aviation as a consultant. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York where he teaches Fluid Mechanics, Compressible Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Heat Transfer Laboratory, Aerodynamics, Measurements and Instrumentation Laboratory, and Senior Design in addition to conducting experimental aerodynamics undergraduate research projects.

visit author page


Alexander Hans Pesch Hofstra University

visit author page

Alexander H. Pesch was born and raised in northeastern Ohio. After graduating from Ohio University, he spent time in the jet engine overhaul industry before pursuing graduate studies at Cleveland State University. During his time studying at Cleveland State, he also taught undergraduate classes and participated in research at the Center for Rotating Machinery Dynamics and Control. Currently, Dr. Pesch is an assistant professor of engineering at Hofstra University. His duties include teaching undergraduate classes, engaging in scholarly research, and participation in the Hofstra University Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory and Hofstra University Center for Innovation which grow the knowledge base of New York in the area of mechatronics in modern manufacturing and bridge the gap between university and industry development.

visit author page


Kevin C. Craig Hofstra University

visit author page

Kevin Craig graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, with a B.S. degree and a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. He received the M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, NY. He worked in the mechanical-nuclear design department of a major engineering firm in NYC and taught and received tenure at both the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, he received the 1987 ASEE New Engineering Educator Excellence Award, a national honor. From 1989-2008, as a tenured full professor of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he developed the mechatronics teaching and research program focusing on human-centered, model-based design with a balance between theory and industry best practices. He collaborated extensively with the Xerox Mechanical Engineering Sciences Laboratory (MESL), an offshoot of Xerox PARC, during this time. At Rensselaer, he graduated 37 M.S. students and 20 Ph.D. students, and authored over 30 refereed journal articles and over 50 refereed conference papers. In 2006 at RPI, he received the two highest awards conferred for teaching: the RPI School of Engineering Education Excellence Award and the RPI Trustees’ Outstanding Teacher Award.
Over the past 20 years, he has conducted hands-on, integrated, customized, mechatronics workshops for practicing engineers nationally and internationally, e.g., at Xerox, Procter & Gamble, Rockwell Automation, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Fiat, Tetra Pak, Johnson Controls, and others. He is a Fellow of the ASME and a member of the IEEE and ASEE. In January 2008, he joined the faculty of the Marquette University College of Engineering as Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Robert C. Greenheck Chair in Engineering Design, a $5M endowed chair. He was given the 2013 ASEE North-Midwest Best Teacher Award and the 2014 ASME Outstanding Design Educator Award, a society award.
In the fall of 2014, he returned to the Hofstra University School of Engineering and Applied Science as a tenured full professor of mechanical engineering. He is the Director of the $1M Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, and also the Director of the Center for Innovation, a new center created to collaborate with business and industry to foster innovation where all intellectual property (IP) belongs to the sponsor.

visit author page

Download Paper |


How many piano tuners are there in the city of Chicago? Estimation of rough but quantitative answers to unexpected questions about many aspects of the natural world was frequently used by Enrico Fermi to gage one’s power over his/her theoretical and experimental studies. These types of questions draw upon a deep understanding of the real world and upon everyday experience, and it is the mindset these questions engender that motivates the reinventing of the standard Engineering Programming course found in some form at every engineering school in the country. Engineers are problem solvers and the only way to learn problem solving is to do it! Only a human can solve problems; the computer is a tool. Design problems are the heart of engineering and to solve them requires creativity, teamwork, and broad knowledge. The approach to solving an engineering problem should proceed in an orderly, stepwise fashion, but often problem solving is an iterative procedure. To become a good problem solver, an engineer must have: knowledge, experience, learning skills, motivation, and communication and leadership skills. The ability to logically break a problem into pieces is most important. With all this in mind, a pilot course is now being taught that attempts to instill excitement and relevance into a course that, in our opinion, desperately needs revision. A course summary is shown below. Student evaluations for the course, as well as evaluations of how the course impacts courses in the sophomore and junior years where problem-solving skills and engineering tools are widely applied, are being conducted and will be reported.

de Guzman, R., & Vaccaro, J. C., & Pesch, A. H., & Craig, K. C. (2016, June), Freshman Engineering Problem Solving with MATLAB for All Disciplines Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27302

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: © 2016 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