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Full Paper: Project Ponderosa - Bridging Engineering Education to Vocational Training

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Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled


Davis, California

Publication Date

April 30, 2020

Start Date

April 30, 2020

End Date

October 10, 2020

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Scott Matthew Boskovich California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Dr. Scott Boskovich received his degree in Electrical Engineering focusing on Intelligent Systems. He has over 20 years of design experience from industry and has been teaching for over 20 years, 15 years part-time and now is a tenured track professor in Electromechanical Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. His primary focus of research is robotics, autonomous vehicles and embedded systems and teaches related subject matter courses.

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Chris Burns Boys Republic

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Licensed Psychologist, Executive Director of Boys Republic since 2010, with organization since 1993.

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The application of robotics and automation in industry continues to be an increasing area of growth. Subsequently, this requires an increased demand for design engineering students as well as knowledgeable users trained for equipment maintenance. However, this can become problematic to adequately provide a realistic environment for both teaching design of robotics systems as well as the maintenance. In recent years, with the coordination between Cal Poly Pomona and Boys Republic, we have developed Project Ponderosa. Project Ponderosa provides Cal Poly Pomona engineering students the opportunity to design various robotics, mechatronics, and automation systems that are and will be operated and maintained by Boys Republic students for Christmas Wreath Production at their facility. Prior to Project Ponderosa, the Boys Republic Christmas wreaths were predominately produced using various manual techniques including lacquer application and cutting operations. The robotics and automation systems have been designed to implement these and other tasks in the Christmas Wreath product at Boys Republic. This production is used as a seasonal annual fund raiser which ships approximately 40,000 units during the span of three weeks of production. Due to the period of operation and cost profiles, it is unrealistic to fund an outside engineering company to develop an automation solution. Using the partnership between the two schools provides Cal Poly Pomona engineering students the opportunity to learn and practice the engineering design process including capturing customer requirements for the task, preliminary design, simulation, detailed design, and test and integration while documenting the design throughout each phase. As the projects are completed, the students at Boys Republic gain the vocational experience for operation and maintaining the systems providing the experience for future opportunities upon completing their program at Boys Republic. To date, many engineering students have received engineering career opportunities as a direct result of their work on Ponderosa.

Boskovich, S. M., & Burns, C. (2020, April), Full Paper: Project Ponderosa - Bridging Engineering Education to Vocational Training Paper presented at Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled, Davis, California.

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