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Spring 2014 Mechanical Engineering Newsletter


Dear Alumni and Friends,

At the end of each semester I take the opportunity to visit with our graduating seniors. They tell me the things that they like about the department, the things they don’t like, and the things that we can improve on. They talk to me about their experiences, which are as varied as each student, and they talk to me about the classes they have taken, the things they have learned, and we reflect on the progress they have made during their time at the University of Idaho. As I visited with one of our graduating seniors last May, she mentioned how close this particular graduating class was. They had gone through the grinder together, and this really bonded them. They could joke around with each other, razz each other, then celebrate with each other when they finally graduated. Engineers carry a stereotype of being unsociable, but I find that our students are quite personable and friendly. For the most part they get along and work well with each other, and support each other during difficult times.

We provide a number of opportunities for students to take a break from their classes and expand their horizons. Some of these opportunities are the student branches of technical organizations. In the department, we have a large and active branch of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The ASME was founded in 1880 as an organization to bring mechanical engineers together to solve technical problems and establish engineering standards. The faculty advisor of the ASME branch, professor Steve Beyerlein, organizes field trips and competitions for our students. The students learn leadership skills and mentor incoming students while developing industrial contacts. They serve as wonderful ambassadors for the mechanical engineering department.

We also have a branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Professor Matt Riley is the advisor, and students who are interested in aerospace fields can participate in the AIAA’s Design/Build/Fly competition.

The college also sponsors a number of engineering societies. The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is an active group which helps organize Women in Engineering Day and encourages more women to choose engineering as a career. A recent group, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), allows engineering students to use their technical skills to help solve problems in impoverished areas of the world. EWB is based on the Doctors Without Borders model and is a rapidly growing group.

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has an active branch on campus, bringing technical speakers from around the country to motivate and inspire students. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) encourages young Hispanic students, many of whom are first-generation college students, to become engineers and use their talents to benefit society.

Participation in these societies allows students to broaden their horizons and learn skills beyond the classroom, and to become well-rounded engineers as they enter the workforce. It is a great pleasure to observe them learn and grow.

As always, we love to hear from you. Feel free to drop us a line at

Warmest Regards,

— John Crepeau,
Department Chair


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Contact Us

Engineering Physics Building Rm. 324K

Mailing Address:

Mechanical Engineering
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 0902
Moscow, ID 83844-0902

Phone: 208-885-6579

Fax: 208-885-9031