Dean's Newsletter January 2018
Message From The Dean
You have heard me talk about the excellent student experience that we strive to provide all of our students — it is one of our most important priorities in the College of Engineering. The way I see it, that experience begins before students even walk through the door to take their first class. That’s why the activities we do as a college to engage K-12 students throughout Idaho and the region are not only addressing a key strategic objective but more importantly playing a key role in creating the best first impression of the Vandal engineering experience.
Over the last couple months I have had the opportunity to personally take part in a number of outreach activities that I wanted to bring to your attention. I also want to share with you other efforts we have underway to engage the next generation of Vandal engineers.
Recently I visited Lowell Elementary School in Boise to meet with a 5th grader named Miles, his family and a very energetic group of elementary school kids. Miles had written me a letter about how he likes to work on different machines and how he wants to become a mechanical engineer. In his letter he asked if I could send a souvenir to show to his friends. I sent myself and decided to bring Shea Morrison a recent electrical engineering grad and Micron employee along with me. Shea and I demonstrated a Jacob’s Ladder as a way to talk about electricity, transformers and how both are important to the technology we use on a daily basis. I also demonstrated a Sterling engine as a way to talk about heat transfer and machines. Miles and the kids asked many great questions. Shea as was amazing at responding, a true testament to the quality of our graduates. My visit to Miles’ class reminded me that the small things we do make a big difference in influencing the perception and interest in engineering.
This past week I had the opportunity to visit with Sandpoint High School students enrolled in our dual credit CS-112 course on a trip to our Computer Science program in Coeur d’Alene, located in the Innovation Den. Students met with our faculty to discuss degree opportunities right in their own backyard and of course took time to interact with our 300 pound robot Baxter. They were also introduced to some virtual reality technology and saw first-hand how they can help design the future.
Finally, I want to mention one of the very best opportunities we have to demonstrate to future students what it means to be a Vandal engineer and that is by inviting them to participate in our annual Engineering Design EXPO. This is the 25th anniversary of EXPO which is the culmination of our senior capstone design program — a program ranked as one of the best in the country for hands-on experience by the National Academy of Engineering. This year we are celebrating the next 25 years in engineering. We are again inviting 500+ middle and high school students from across Idaho and Eastern Washington to participate in our EXPO Extended Experience program. The program made possible through the generous support of our EXPO sponsors allows us to provide school groups travel stipends to attend EXPO to meet our engineering students to learn about engineering as well as engage in hands-on tours and see campus.
Larry A. Stauffer
Dean, College of Engineering