First Year Engineering Expo – Fall 2022

The First-year Engineering Program’s mission is to inspire and motivate our students to pursue an Engineering Education by providing them with a diverse and inclusive learning community centered around the First-year Engineering Learning and Innovation Center and the Cornerstone of Engineering 1- & 2-course sequence. In Cornerstone, students are introduced to the fundamentals of engineering problem-solving and design presented in an innovative way to cultivate systems thinking by solving real problems of authentic complexities. The courses are hands-on and team-based project experiences that focus on the design process, algorithmic thinking with programming in C++ and MATLAB, basic building and fabrication skills, using Arduino microcontrollers and sensors, learning about engineering ethics, along with graphical communication with AutoCAD and SolidWorks. The first-year design expo is the showcase of both Cornerstone 1 students and students who have completed both Cornerstone 1 and 2 concurrently in one semester.  The project themes this year include original board games, interactive projects geared to teach children sustainability and resiliency concepts, autonomous sumo robots, engineering failures, innovative energy systems, and spying and surveillance.

Students in Teaching Professor Richard Whalen and Assistant Teaching Professor Constantine Mukasa’s section build autonomous robots designed to mimic a sumo wrestling match.  Here the robots use sensors to stay inside the ring boundary while searching for the other robot to push it out first.  Students incorporate clever programming strategies and use a variety of motors and sensors to gain an advantage.

Students in Assistant Teaching Professor Angelina Jay’s section have created interactive tabletop games where the user is presented with an engineering failure and must work through several stages of play to eventually solve the mystery of how/why the failure happened. The engineering failures could be real or imagined and this semester’s topics range from the historic Boston molasses flood to hacked insulin pumps and carnival ride disasters.

Students in Associate Teaching Professor Duncan Davis’s class build carnival games from wood and acrylic where players use their dexterity and wit to throw, spin, roll, and click their way to victory.

Assistant Teaching Professor Andrew Gillen’s cornerstone theme is centered around the hidden world of engineering when it comes to humans interacting with animals. For their semester project, students developed wearable technology for an animal of their choice. Beyond usage in the pet industry, wearable technology for animals is used in various applications, such as scientific data collection, service animals, and agriculture.

Associate Teaching Professor Brian O’Connell’s students have integrated all elements of Cornerstone into interactive STEM Museum exhibits with this semester’s theme “The Science of Spies”.

Students in Teaching Professor Bala Maheswaran’s section look to design innovative systems for Efficient Energy Transfer, Energy Production, and Energy Storage.

Students in Teaching Professor Kathryn Schulte-Grahame’s class build interactive museum exhibits to teach children about sustainability concepts as part of a service-learning opportunity.

Related Faculty: Richard Whalen, Constantine Mukasa, Angelina Jay, Duncan Davis, Andrew Gillen, Bala Maheswaran, Brian O'Connell, Kathryn Schulte Grahame