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Student Experience in Engineering Design (SEED)

CEMS Seniors take on real-world design projects

Seniors in the Electrical Engineering (EE) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) programs this Fall are taking a combined "capstone" course. The Student Experience in Engineering Design (SEED) challenges students with complex and multidisciplinary problems.

SEED projects involve system development initiatives that engineers undertake in industry. The SEED projects originate as statements of need from Burlington-area companies and are conducted with the direct, continuous involvement of engineers and other professionals from those companies.

The organizer of SEED and its chief instructor is Professor Mike Rosen. Rosen developed the course material and involved industry contacts to add emphasis to students' design education and strengthen links between industry and UVM undergraduate engineering education.

The importance of real-world experience

From a company's perspective, a SEED project offers the opportunity to work directly with seniors who are likely to be candidates for entry-level engineering positions when they graduate. Company engineers get to take a long-standing problem off the back burner and often consider the mentoring role a welcome addition to their more typical duties.

Students relish the opportunity to engage in engineering practice as preparation for work in industry and as application of the theory they have been learning. In addition, Professor Rosen teaches students to seek design ideas not only from their courses but from nature, technology and the physical phenomena they observe in everyday living. Finally, SEED allows students to engage in teaching each other the fundamentals of their disciplines, an important and useful experience in learning and collaboration.

Costs of SEED and other engineering design activities in CEMS are underwritten in part by generous contributions from outside donors, including all the project partner companies. One particularly fortuitous partnership was made possible by Lisa Aultman-Hall, Director of the UVM Transportation Research Center.

In addition to the vital teaching provided by engineers at partner companies, ten members of the CEMS faculty are serving as mentors to the SEED student teams. Guidance from Mike Rosen, Jeff Marshall, Josh Bongard, Mike Coleman, Mandar Dewoolkar, Yves Dubief, Jeff Frolik, Darren Hitt, Robert Jenkins and Tian Xia ensure that project implementation is grounded in knowledge and skills from all corners of the undergraduate engineering curriculum.

See the 2011-12 SEED Projects arrow

To start a SEED Project

If your company or pending grant-funded project might gain by involving a SEED team, contact Mike Rosen at 802-656-2318 or mrosen@uvm.edu. Development of partnerships and project definitions is ongoing.