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Integration of Engineering Capstone within a Makerspace Environment

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Making, Hacking, and Extracurricular Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Luis Javier Martinez New Mexico State University, Department of Industrial Engineering

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Luis J Martinez is a MS graduate student in the Department of Industrial Engineering at New Mexico State University. His current work involves the integration of capstone projects from the College of Engineering of NMSU with the Aggie Innovation Space (the university maker space) with hopes of transitioning these projects to a Technology Acceleration process with the Student Technology Incubator of the University. Luis is involved in the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and Alphi Pi Mu Honor Society.

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Patricia A. Sullivan New Mexico State University

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Patricia A. Sullivan serves as Associate Dean for Outreach and Public Service in the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. She received her PhD in industrial engineering and has over 32 years’ experience directing statewide engineering outreach services that include technical engineering business assistance, professional development, and educational outreach programs. She is co-PI for a National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES grant, coPI for a NSF grant to broaden participation among minority engineering students through engagement in innovation and entrepreneurship, and co-PI for an i6 Challenge grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to foster regional economic development through innovation and new business start-ups. She is institutional integrator for the Partnership for the Advancement of Engineering Education (PACE) at NMSU. She is also co-lead for a NSF funded Pathways to Innovation cohort at NMSU with a focus on integrating innovation and entrepreneurship into the engineering curriculum through a blending of industry and educational experiences. Patricia serves as a commissioner for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), is a member of the executive committee for the NM Consortia for Energy Workforce Development, and a member of the board of directors for Enchantment Land Certified Development Company (ELCDC – a program that certifies SBA 504 loans that foster economic development.) She has extensive experience in economic development particularly efforts that build on collaborative partnerships with business and industry, government agencies, and other stake-holders to enhance employment opportunities for engineering students.

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Edward Pines New Mexico State University

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Edward Pines is Department Head and Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at New Mexico State University. He is a co-team leader of NMSU's Pathways to Innovation team and is serves on the Faculty Advisory Board for NMSU Engineering's Aggie Innovation Space.

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A technology acceleration process has been developed to serve students involved in engineering capstone projects within a college maker space facility. The developed process features a peer mentor model for capstone teams that guides students through the engineering design process, supports future real-world application, and introduces collaboration within a multidisciplinary open learning environment. Participants in the developed process become adept in accelerating technology for application and gain valuable work-place skills for future personal and professional growth. This peer mentor model is adaptable to a variety of engineering design models. The peer mentor model consists of multi-stage consultative guidance focused on achieving key short-term milestones and introduces teams to a variety of resources available within a college maker space environment. Participating students are expected to learn new skills oftentimes unavailable through the regular academic curriculum, and the quality of capstone projects is further enhanced through participation in technical workshops on engineering design and prototype, micro-controllers, additive manufacturing, various engineering software, and project management.

The initial stage of the peer mentorship model is focused on identifying technical needs of the teams, and establishing realistic objectives and deliverables for the semester. As student teams progress through the semester, they are assigned a peer technical mentor. These mentors are highly skilled on-campus co-op students employed within the college maker space with expertise in specific fields of engineering and, whose role is to provide technical assistance within a multidisciplinary environment. Capstone teams meet regularly with their mentors as well as with their capstone faculty instructor.

As the teams advance through the semester, they are guided in the development of prototypes and conduct preliminary testing before progressing to a vetting/validation stage. The vetting/validation stage requires students to seek external validation of their ideas from faculty or “potential clients” of the technology/product being developing. This stage allows teams to understand the feasibility of their projects, enhances student soft skills, and serves as an initial indicator of opportunities for technology acceleration. The final stage of the model includes prototype testing, and final project presentation to capstone faculty. Projects that demonstrate commercial application are invited to further accelerate their technology as a client of the university student incubator, where they receive additional commercialization guidance and access to external start-up funding. The adoption of the developed process also facilitates the transition from a traditional curriculum-driven capstone project to one that explores the fringe of entrepreneurship.

This paper will present data on our successes resulting from the adoption of the developed process, best practices for accelerating technologies and enhancing work-place skills within the engineering capstone experience, lessons learned, and opportunities to refine the process.

Martinez, L. J., & Sullivan, P. A., & Pines, E. (2017, June), Integration of Engineering Capstone within a Makerspace Environment Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28566

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