Asee peer logo

Student Funded Laboratory Exercises At Virginia Tech

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Unique Laboratory Experiments & Programs Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1154.1 - 10.1154.6



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Steven York

author page

Lynn Nystrom

author page

Elizabeth Joyce

author page

Michael Gregg

author page

Richard Goff

author page

Jeffrey Connor

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Student Funded Laboratory Exercises at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Jeffrey Connor1, Margaret Joyce2, Lynn Nystrom3, Steven York1, Michael Gregg1, Richard Goff1 1 Department of Engineering Education 2 Student Engineers’ Council 3 Office of the College of Engineering Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Traditionally the methods of engineering education have been an outgrowth of the fact that engineers solve practical, physical problems. Prior to the second half of the 20th century, engineering students spent a great deal of time in labs and shops with less time in the classroom. Since then, engineering education has placed a greater emphasis on classroom instruction in mathematics and other sciences, resulting in a lessened hands-on experience for students. Within the last decade or so engineering educators have been coming to apparent consensus that the pendulum has swung too far and that there is a strong need to supplement traditional teaching with activities that give practical meaning to the equations presented in lecture (Colb 1984).

During the past five years Virginia Tech’s first year engineering curriculum has changed from a largely lecture based to a more experimental approach. A significant challenge in providing these activities to approximately 1,200 students per year is paying for the materials. Over the years the Department of Engineering Education (formerly the Division of Engineering Fundamentals) has relied upon the generosity of the Student Engineers’ Council to provide a large percentage of the money needed to buy supplies for these projects.

This paper discusses and details the significant contribution that the Student Engineers’ Council has made to the first year engineering program at Virginia Tech over the years, including how they have raised tens of thousands of dollars each year and what freshman projects the money has supported.

Background of the SEC

The Student Engineers' Council (SEC) was formed on November 14, 1968 to expand the role of the Association for the Advancement of Engineering, an advisory committee consisting of engineering juniors, seniors, and faculty members. Since then, the SEC has grown into a large and dynamic organization that sponsors many projects for Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. The SEC brings the engineering student body together not only to benefit their individual departments but also to combine their efforts for the benefit of the entire College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

York, S., & Nystrom, L., & Joyce, E., & Gregg, M., & Goff, R., & Connor, J. (2005, June), Student Funded Laboratory Exercises At Virginia Tech Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14574

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: © 2005 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