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The Role of a Design Studio in a Mechanical Engineering Department

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Design Throughout the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Dustyn Roberts P.E. University of Delaware

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Dustyn Roberts received her B.S. in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (2003), her M.S. in Biomechanics & Movement Science (2004) from the University of Delaware, and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (2014) from New York University. She has six years of professional experience in the robotics and medical fields, and is passionate about translational research and engineering education.

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Jenni Buckley University of Delaware

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Dr. Buckley is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor’s of Engineering (2001) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, and her MS (2004) and PhD (2006) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on computational and experimental methods in spinal biomechanics. Since 2006, her research efforts have focused on the development and mechanical evaluation of medical and rehabilitation devices, particularly orthopaedic, neurosurgical, and pediatric devices. She teaches courses in design, biomechanics, and mechanics at University of Delaware and is heavily involved in K12 engineering education efforts at the local, state, and national levels.

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Maker spaces and design centers of different kinds are becoming popular hubs of activity on many engineering campuses. Some of these centers, such as Stanford’s d-school and Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute, have existed for over a decade. However, a growing number of other engineering centers have recently been established in parallel with the rise of community hacker and maker spaces, including the Design Studio at the University of Delaware. These centers generally offer a physical location with fabrication resources and support for students to learn and work in a hands-on, project-based learning environment. Though each design center has a unique purpose relative to its home institution, the centers have all had an impact on centralizing design experiences into the campus culture.

This paper examines the impact of the arrival of the Design Studio at the University of Delaware and reports on how the impact has been tracked and documented. From student-led design and construction teams through surveys of recent alumni, the methods and results of this single case study can serve as a template for development and evaluation of new design centers to review as they plan and implement their own centers to foster design, innovation, and entrepreneurship skills in undergraduate engineering students.

Roberts, D., & Buckley, J. (2016, June), The Role of a Design Studio in a Mechanical Engineering Department Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27007

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