Penn State University - Berks Campus - Reading, Pennsylvania
October 6, 2017
October 6, 2017
October 7, 2017
Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference
(Submitted for 6 Page Paper) In late January of the Spring 2017 semester, a Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Authentic Engineering Experience Team of three engineering and one computer science student sophomores received a request from a Customer, an avid backpacker, for a tent light which provides readable light for two people for thirty minutes without the use of batteries. In addition, the tent light would also function as a GPS receiver/Cell transmitter sending location coordinates to a phone or web-site at the Customer’s home. Other constraints, such as weight, dimensions, and water resistance were defined, but the Customer did not indicate or suggest how to achieve the required product performance – those decisions were left entirely to the student Team. The Customer required a finished product by the delivery date of May 1, 2017. The student Team members were treated as Professional Engineers in an Engineering-Solutions company – not as students. Although guided by industry-experienced staff, the overwhelming emphasis was for the student Teams to reach their own designs, experience their own failures and successes, resolve their own communications conflicts, and respond to critical Customer comments. The objective is for students to be exposed early in their academic careers and under "authentic engineering" conditions, to vital skills and practices used daily by professional Engineers. Most importantly students are taught – and experience first-hand – that success comes from never giving up. These experiences differentiate students and gives them an authentic story to relate to potential internship and professional employers.
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