How it works
Sponsors help to bring a contemporary and real life design experience to the students and may propose specific design challenges for student projects. Proposed projects are advanced through a screening process to evaluate the potential to benefit both the project sponsor and the students. Highly ranked projects have an engaged sponsor, funding, clearly defined scope, and a specific timeframe and budget. The scope of these projects is consistent with the capabilities of the students and the length of academic semesters, yet broad enough to provide real value to the project sponsor.
Projects come from within a broad set of themes including general building design, transportation design and environmental design, but most often a combination of these. Students generally work in teams of four, each with varying roles and responsibilities.
Interdisciplinary teams of students, one or two teams per project, are assigned to each project. Industry professionals mentor the students from the beginning to completion, providing guidance and support. Instructors maintain a close relationship with sponsors, the mentors and the student teams. The teams proceed through a typical engineering design process of problem definition, development and evaluation of alternative solutions, and preliminary design. Presentations are made by each student team to a panel of judges at the mid-point and again at completion of their preliminary design. Sponsors are engaged throughout the process to maximize the value of their participation.