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Industry Experience and Perspective: A Survey of Advice Brigham Young University Capstone Alumni Share with Incoming Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Experiential Learning Programs and the Transition to Industry

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.865.1 - 22.865.26



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Paper Authors


Taylor Halverson Brigham Young University

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Taylor Halverson earned a double major Ph.D. at Indiana University in Instructional Technology and design and Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. He earned Master’s degrees from Indiana University and Yale University. His Bachelor’s degree was earned at BYU. Dr. Halverson spent several years working for Cisco in Silicon Valley where he designed creative learning experiences for thousands of customer service agents spread across the globe. Dr. Halverson currently works as a Teaching and Learning Consultant at BYU, assisting faculty members to enhance the student learning experience. He also is a part-time faculty member at BYU, teaching a variety of courses including “The History of Creativity in the Arts, Sciences, and Technology," and a part-time faculty member at Capella University, teaching online Ph.D. learners in instructional technology and design. Dr. Halverson regularly presents at academic conferences and recently published a book on instructional design theory and practice.

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Robert H. Todd Brigham Young University

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Robert H. Todd is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University and the founding director of BYU’s Capstone program, Integrated Product and Process Design. Dr. Todd received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering Design, where he also received a Post Doctoral fellowship. He taught engineering courses and served in department and college administration at BYU, Idaho (then Ricks College) before spending 10 years in industry in senior engineering and management positions with both the General Motors Corporation and the Michelin Tire Corporation in both the U.S. and Europe. His research and teaching interests include manufacturing process machine design, product design and the improvement of engineering education in a global setting. Since coming to BYU in 1989, he has been the senior author of two manufacturing processes books, one, Manufacturing Processes Reference Guide, a best seller used throughout the world, and more than 100 technical articles. He has served as a department chair and undergraduate coordinator at BYU, a member of the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). He is a recipient of BYU’s Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching award, the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Outstanding Teacher and Rudy Awards, the department’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and BYU’s Blue Key College of Engineering and Technology Outstanding Faculty award. He is a member of ASME and SAE. He is also a life member of ASEE and SME and a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.

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Christopher A. Mattson Brigham Young University


Gregg M. Warnick Brigham Young University

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Gregg M. Warnick is the External Relations and Intern Coordinator for the Mechanical Engineering department in the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at BYU. He works directly with industry each year to recruit more than 30 funded Capstone projects and provides project management, team development, and coaching support to each of these project teams and faculty coaches. In addition, he continues to focus on increasing international project opportunities for students and faculty. His research and teaching interests include globalization, project management, leadership, ethics, and manufacturing processes. Prior to joining BYU, Gregg worked for Becton Dickinson, a Global Medical Technology Company (1995 - 2006). In this capacity he worked as a product development engineer, quality engineer, technical lead, business leader and program/project manager managing many different global projects. Gregg received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Higher Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Master of Technology Management degree and a B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, from Brigham Young University. Gregg also is a Professional Associate Instructor for IPS Learning and Stanford University where he teaches the IPS course Project Management Mastery and the Stanford Advanced Project Management course Managing Without Authority for numerous fortune 500 companies throughout the world. He is a Certified Manufacturing Technologist (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) and is also certified in Planning and Managing Projects (BD University); Ethical Fitness (BD University); Lean Manufacturing (BD University); High Impact Facilitation (Lore International Institute); and Project Management (Saddle Island Institute).

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Industry Experience and Perspective: A Survey of Advice Brigham Young University Capstone Alumni Share with Incoming StudentsThe Brigham Young University (BYU) Capstone program is founded on project-based learningexperiences. Many incoming students to the Capstone program find it challenging to make theadjustment from traditional engineering education to project-based learning in preparation for thepractice of engineering in industry. Over the years, changes and innovations have been introducedinto the Capstone curriculum to assist students with this transition to be successful students inthis challenging, yet rewarding program. Since 1990, the Capstone program has generated morethan 2700 alumni. We recognized that Capstone alumni constitute a rich source of industryexperience and perspective: The alumni could highlight possible challenges and difficulties newstudents will face while providing relevant advice and perspective based on years of industryexperience for how students can succeed in the program while preparing for their careers. Wesurveyed the alumni with two open-ended questions: (1) When you were enrolled in Capstone,what was the most difficult challenge you experienced transitioning to this project-based designcourse? (2) Based on your Capstone or subsequent industry experience, what recommendationsdo you have for helping new students do well in Capstone? 397 alumni responded. This paperwill catalog the challenges alumni most often cited they experienced as students in transitioningto project-based learning and the associated advice, based on both their Capstone andsubsequence post-graduation experience, that they provided to incoming students for overcomingthose challenges.

Halverson, T., & Todd, R. H., & Mattson, C. A., & Warnick, G. M. (2011, June), Industry Experience and Perspective: A Survey of Advice Brigham Young University Capstone Alumni Share with Incoming Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18150

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