August 20, 2014
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New digs for senior design Miscellaneous

RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering dedicated a new addition of the James E. Gleason Building during a ceremony on campus earlier this month.

One of the centerpieces of the addition is dedicated space for the college’s senior design program. All engineering bachelor’s students are required to complete a senior design project in their field during the fifth and final year of their degree program. The program allows students to develop their own ideas and create projects that have real world impacts. Many of these design efforts have ultimately been transferred to research and commercial applications in partnership with industry and government agencies.

For example, in 2005, a senior team performed an occupational health and safety review and redesigned certain workspaces for a local manufacturer that employees visually impaired workers. Currently, another team is working with two professors to design and build a cigarette-smoking machine to simulate the impact on the lungs. The project is funded by the American Cancer Society and will assist researchers in learning more about the impact of smoking on human health. Through the years, other teams have designed and built a remote operated vehicle for use in underwater salvage, a solar oven and a wind-turbine-powered walkway light! While my knowledge is not comprehensive, I am pretty sure that most undergraduates at other universities cannot point to anything comparable.

Given the importance of senior design and the great impact the program has had, the college wanted to create better facilities for students and their faculty supervisors. The space in the new addition will provide teams with a dedicated location for their projects and better access to campus resources. It will also assist the college in expanding senior design and increasing multidisciplinary partnerships with students and professors throughout RIT. More importantly, this new facility will further expand the College of Engineering’s commitment to undergraduate research, which has long been a cornerstone of RIT’s educational mission.

I for one am really looking forward to the next big thing to come out of senior design. Maybe someone will finally come up with a machine that will ensure my Boston Red Sox win the World Series every year. A long shot, but one can still dream!


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