The Swanson School of Engineering — located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, a short four miles from the downtown — is having its first Student Design EXPO today, Thursday, December 4, from 6:00 to 8:30 in Alumni Hall. This first EXPO has a unique focus on sustainability — each of the 71 projects must include a sustainability component as this is the “Year of Sustainability” at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Swanson School has an obvious strong relationship to ANSYS. John Swanson, ANSYS’s founder received his PhD from us. On December 5, 2007, John presented the University of Pittsburgh with a most generous gift and we became the Swanson School of Engineering. John is a frequent visitor to the Swanson School and is currently mentoring several student projects focused on harvesting and using solar energy, a current passion of his.
The University of Pittsburgh has consistently been recognized as one of the country’s leading public research universities, and is among the top five in federal research dollars received from NSF and NIH. At the undergraduate level, we are among the top 20 public institutions. With over 2800 undergraduates and almost 1000 graduate students, we are one of the fastest rising engineering schools in the country, offering nine undergraduate and masters degree programs, as well as PhD degrees in Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
Our engineering students come from across the country and around the world. We have a very active co-op program in which half of our undergraduates participate, including 34 who co-oped at ANSYS this past year, and over 200 in total who have done one or more rotations at ANSYS. We also have a very active international program. For the past two years, forty percent of our graduating seniors participated in at least one international engineering educational experience including programs in Florence (Engineering of the Renaissance), Peru (Pre-Columbian Engineering), France (The Nuclear Fuel Cycle), Brazil (Engineering for a Better Environment), Uruguay (Global Supply Networks), Germany (German Way of Engineering) and China (INNOVATE – Globalization and Technology).
This inaugural Design Expo provides an opportunity for student teams, many from the School’s Capstone Design Courses, to showcase the projects that they have been working on this semester. In addition to these graduating seniors, the Expo will also highlight concepts and prototypes from students in our product realization courses. The Expo’s 71 projects also features nine exhibits from students working internationally to better the planet. As noted, all projects will feature a sustainability component.
Example projects include “Neonatal IV Brace,” “Design of a Potable Water Supply System to a Native Village in the Ecuadorian Andes,” “Backpack Energy Generator,” “Forecasting service times for micro geographical areas across the U.S.” for FedEx Ground, “Design of a Portable 3D Printed Electric Fan,” “Creation of Degradable Dental Implant,” “Wireless Electronic Monitoring Unit,” and “Electromechanical Wind Belt: An Alternative Wind Energy Collection Method.”
The Swanson School’s Capstone Design and Product Realization courses enable students to address real-world problems either posed by industry or identified by the teams themselves. Projects will transverse the design space from problem identification, specification of objectives and constraints, conceptual development, resulting in an actual prototype in many cases. Hence the Expo provides an opportunity for students to display their creativity and ingenuity. Judges from industry will select the best project from each of the participating courses, as well as the overall Best Project and Best Incorporation of Sustainability. Everyone in attendance will be able to vote for a special “People’s Choice” award.
The Expo is open to the entire campus, parents of the participating students, prospective students, industry friends, and, of course, the general public.
Larry J. Shuman
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Distinguished Service Professor of Industrial Engineering