Students presenting their senior capstone project

Our students have a multi-disciplinary, capstone design experience in their final year. It is an intense two semesters-long experience. Since 2006, almost all of the capstone projects have been service-learning projects where students work with local communities, towns and non-profits. This experience is designed to provide an opportunity for students to experience and learn about engineering “project work” while actually doing it.

The different facets of “project work” range from technical problem solving and sustainable design, to interpersonal and personal skills. Enhancing experience and learning of teamwork skills, effective communication, and decision-making is just as important as the technical design aspects of the course. In addition, the social, political, environmental, and economic aspects of the project are considered to be key components of the project work.

Workflow diagram for senior design projects

Capstone projects conducted thus far have included designing: stormwater management systems for towns, retrofits for existing bridges, restoration/rehabilitation of historic houses and bridges, wastewater plant upgrades, anaerobic digester, buildings, roundabouts, new bridges, pipelines for hydropower plants, and mitigation alternatives for a landslide. International service-learning projects in Honduras and Haiti have also been conducted some years. For each project, students consider multiple design alternatives and suggest recommendations based on costs and social and environmental impacts.  They write comprehensive technical reports and make presentations to external evaluators, faculty, fellow students and community partners. They also prepare a short video story describing their projects.

Below are video stories of some example capstone projects:

General Stannard House Restoration
Community Partner: Milton Historical Society
Participating students: Ryan Bailey, Jack Dugdale, Zachary Ferguson, Timothy Sayler, Nora Varhue
General Stannard House Restoration

Williston Green Streets: Mitigating Roadway Ponding via Rain Gardens and Infiltration Trenches
Community Partner: Town of Williston, VT
Participating students: Olivia Lincoln, Nate Robeson, Tyler Fish, Patrick Flaherty & Scott Goodwin

CSWD Anaerobic Sludge Digestion
Community Partner: Chittenden Solid Waste District
Participating students: Wesley Miller, Kevin Nguyen, Ben Rukavina, Flora Su, Alexandra White
Sludge Digestion photostory

Village of Essex Junction, Vermont: Essex Junction Educational Drive Intersection & Vermont Route 15 Multiuse Path & Bridge
Community Partner: Village of Essex Junction, VT
Participating students: Jace Curtis, David Gagnon, Anna Nadler, Benjamin Rouleau & Timur Steis
Essex Junction Multiuse Path & Bridge photostory

Gasification Treatment of Wastewater Sludge for Chittenden County Solid Waste District
Community Partner: Chittenden County Solid Waste District (CSWD)
Participating students: Kyle Andrews, Luke Detwiler, Karin Emanualson, Emma Raeside & Erik Soderstrom
Gasification Treatment of Wastewater Sludge photostory