Amazing what you can build in your fourth year...
Imagine designing a product that proves useful to a major corporation. George Fox engineering students get that very privilege as part of the department's capstone Senior Design course, taken in the fall and spring of the senior year.
The senior design teams completed seven projects in 2012-13, ranging in type from a wireless encoder to a work desk conversion kit to creek restoration. Their hard work culminated in the Senior Banquet, held at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. They also made presentations to the engineering department and sponsoring companies, as well as demonstrated their prototypes at the annual Engineering Expo.
Industry Design Experience
Senior Design I & II, a two-semester, four-credit-hour course, has the following key features:
- All the senior engineering students from the different concentrations are enrolled, forming interdisciplinary teams that operate like small companies.
- Co-taught by engineering faculty from different disciplines.
- Students work directly with the sponsoring company to identify design specifications and perform the investigation, to ensure a realistic industry design project.
- Significant freedom is given to the student teams, while the engineering faculty and industry engineers are available for guidance.
- Students give regular progress reports to the sponsoring company, the faculty, and each other.
- Both the teams and individual students are assessed throughout the two semesters.
- Prototypes are developed and fabricated by the students.
- Final oral presentations and prototype demonstrations are given on campus and at the client's industrial site.
Truly a Capstone Course
The university launched this unique design experience with the Xerox Corporation of Wilsonville, Ore., in 2003-04, to create products that have real-world application for the company. George Fox's partnership with Xerox began with a drop-on-drum vision system that resulted in a more efficient, effective way of capturing images of ink droplets on its printer drums.
In 2005, students created an automated ink durability tester for Xerox that provided a simple and consistent method of testing and improving ink durability or scratch resistance. Then in 2006, students built a fixture that allows Xerox to test the effects that load, velocity, and temperature have on its various transfix roller and drum materials. The engineering department has since expanded these partnerships to include other regional, national, and international companies.
This is truly a capstone course that demands integration of knowledge from all areas of the curriculum. The projects require that the students not only produce a design but a working prototype as well. The project criteria include considerations such as economic, environmental, sustainability, manufacturability, ethical, health and safety, social, and political. Students are often surprised at all the "non-technical" issues that must be confronted and addressed.
The senior engineering students are also enrolled in the Senior Seminar course. This course presents many diverse topics, including subject matter that assists the students with successfully completing their design projects. Some of the relevant seminar topics are project management, leadership and entrepreneuring, personal organization, professional etiquette, presentation skills, and persuasive reasoning.
The Senior Design course serves as an excellent place to measure the overall learning and progress of our students as well as the success of the George Fox engineering program.