Each year, the Department of Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University launches a two semester Senior Capstone Project course for our soon to be graduating students. Projects should allow them to integrate as much of their education as possible. This course is multi-disciplinary-- mixing students from all three of our programs (electrical engineering, electrical and computer engineering technology and engineering technology). This year we will have forty-six (46) students: twenty-eight (28) engineering technology, eleven (11) electrical and computer engineering technology and seven (7) electrical engineering. Student teams tackle open ended real problems in a realistic setting. We adopt a stage/gate process progressing from project proposal, conceptual design, preliminary design, critical design review, fabrication and test. In addition to the course instructor, each team is provided a faculty mentor to help guide the project. To satisfy the academic goals of the course, projects must have the following characteristics:
We have found that most companies have more projects on their development list than they have resources to pursue. Some of the topics at the bottom of the list i.e. lower priority but still important, make excellent and challenging senior projects. We invite you, as a regional industry partner and supporter of our programs, to examine your development needs and nominate topics that would stimulate our students’ learning while providing you assistance. The requirements from a company sponsor are as follows:
So what benefits do you receive? First, you get a chance to pursue projects that you would like but can’t get to. Second, you get to evaluate students as potential employees. And third, you are supporting the development of an innovative and highly trained workforce for Western North Carolina.
If the idea of sponsoring a team with a project interests you, now is the time to contact me at email@example.com or 828-227-2435. We will begin to initiate conversations on your interest and potential projects in June. We have found that an effective process is for you to gather together several candidate topics prior to a visit to your facility. During the visit, we can discuss and you will be able to show us the context for the projects. For those of you who have participated in the program in prior years, emailing the topics and a conference call may be sufficient. For projects that qualify, we will ask you to prepare a half page description that I can make available to the students. In August I will ask the students to select their top three choices in priority of interest from which we will form teams.
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future and thank you for your support.
Phillip A. Sanger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Engineering and Technology
Director, Center for Rapid Product Realization