Asee peer logo

Using Professional Mentors For Capstone Design Projects At A Distance

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1270.1 - 7.1270.5



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

James Long

author page

Donald Leone

Download Paper |

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

Main Menu

Session 2793

Using Professional Mentors for Capstone Design Projects at a Distance

Donald Leone, James Long University of Hartford / Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas, Inc.

Abstract For over ten years, the University of Hartford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has used professional engineers from the local region as mentors for capstone design projects. The mentor is asked to propose a candidate project, and if the project is selected by a student group, to oversee its technical direction. The mentors become role models for the students, and by allowing students to visit their offices and job sites, give the design teams a glimpse of engineers at work. Past course evaluations by both the students and mentors show a high degree of satisfaction with the experience.

Recently, the department set up a web site that encourages alums to post information about themselves. Most cited recent or current job experience. Some were so interesting, that we thought they would make excellent capstone projects – except that they were not local. With a willing alum, and recognizing that we would have to use several forms of communication, we formulated a project using a mentor-at-a-distance.

The project selected involved the design of a highway bridge located in Chesapeake, Virginia. Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas, Inc. from Norfolk, Virginia, for whom our mentor worked, was responsible for designing the bridge. They provided site drawings, copies of specifications, and other design materials. Under the guidance of the mentor, the students designed an interior beam and the roadway slab, using AASHTO’s (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) 16 th Edition of the Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, and VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) modifications to AASHTO’s standard specifications.

The results of a course assessment questionnaire indicate that engineering, communication and computer skills were enhanced while management skills were not.

1. Introduction The focus of a recent NSF grant awarded the University of Hartford’s College of Engineering 1,2, “Integrating Engineering Design with the Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences and Mathematics”, involved the reshaping of the engineering curriculum through: 1) the integration of contextualized, interdisciplinary design projects throughout the four years of the program; 2) experimental and collaborative learning; 3) partnerships with industry in the creation of “real life” engineering projects for students at all levels; 4) cross-collegiate and cross-disciplinary teams of Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Con ference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Main Menu

Long, J., & Leone, D. (2002, June), Using Professional Mentors For Capstone Design Projects At A Distance Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10844

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: © 2002 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