Students who major in engineering studies have a variety of curricular and co-curricular opportunities available to them, both on and off campus. These include interdisciplinary and internship courses for credit, paid research assistant positions and internships, and co-curricular activities.
Engineering studies majors have participated extensively in the Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project (EEGLP), which focuses on local, national, and international community redevelopment. In addition to their on-campus efforts, students have worked off campus in Easton, and traveled to New Orleans and Honduras to engage directly with those communities.
Lafayette’s Technology Clinic provides an opportunity for engineering studies majors to use the skills and ideas they are developing and apply them to a real-world problem. Tech Clinic is a project-based course for which students receive academic credit. Students from majors across the disciplines team together to solve a problem brought by a client, usually a local agency.
The engineering studies faculty is comprised of committed teacher-scholars who work with students on independent studies and collaborative research, including projects undertaken through the EXCEL Scholars undergraduate research program. Recently, students have sought to better understand and develop new water systems in developing countries, investigated the cost effectiveness of using solar energy to produce fuel, and collaborated with faculty members in engineering studies and art to help beautify the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.
Engineering studies majors pursue academic and co-curricular opportunities off campus, including study abroad programs, research-oriented scholar programs, awards, competitions, and internships.
Engineering studies majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a semester. Students have participated in programs around the globe, with focus areas such as art, economics, and environmental engineering, ranging from three weeks to a full year.
In addition, students have pursued fellowships, awards, and grants to design their own international experiences through programs such as the Grand Challenges Scholars and the Havens Award. Grand Challenges Scholars, who may choose to pursue their work either domestically or internationally, are selected based on a competitive evaluation of an interdisciplinary research proposal that focuses on one of the Grand Challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering.
The Jeffrey B. Havens Memorial Prize is awarded competitively to an engineering major to provide a nontraditional summer learning experience. Engineering studies major Kelsy Lantz ’13 used both awards to enable her to spend six weeks in Uganda, leveraging her work as an EXCEL Scholar to gather financial data and firsthand accounts related to water systems in several villages. These findings formed the basis for her honors thesis; you can read about her experiences in her own words on the Grand Challenges Scholars blog.
Students at all levels are encouraged by faculty to serve summer internships, which are typically paid and do not have an academic credit associated with them. In addition to summer internships, juniors in the Engineering Studies Program are especially encouraged by faculty to take internships with local businesses or public sector agencies. A student spends one day a week throughout the semester at an internship, which is arranged and supervised by faculty in the Engineering Studies Program. These opportunities allow students to use the knowledge gained through coursework to help solve engineering management or policy-related problems faced by the organization sponsoring the internship.
Problems addressed in internships have included development of a spreadsheet-based cost estimating system for a construction company; analysis of quality management procedures at a manufacturing firm; use of an intranet to facilitate training at an electrical utility; and introduction of an electronic data interchange system for purchasing at an industrial firm.
Internship sponsors have included the City of Easton, Air Products, Mallinckrodt Baker, Turner Construction, Victaulic, Spillman Farmer Architects, PPL, Wildlands Conservancy, JPMorgan Chase, Pentamation, Flowserv, and Lehigh Valley Hospital, among others.