senior design engineering graphic

Noah Weaver

The College of Engineering will host the 2021 First-Year Engineering Design Day (FEDD) virtually Friday, April 23 from 1 - 4 p.m. The showcase will allow E101: Introduction to Engineering and Problem Solving students to showcase their teams’ design, compete for awards and network.

The event is a major component of the E101 course and has been put on for 22 years. It is normally held during the fall semester once students have taken their first engineering courses. Hailey Queen, coordinator of engineering first-year programs, said this will be the first time the event has been hosted in the spring. 

“Part of our goal for our First-Year Engineering Design Day event is to allow students the opportunity to showcase a project that they've been working on for the bulk of the semester,” Queen said. “We have about eight projects for students to choose from that they could work on in their groups, and the goal is for them to build some skills in terms of design and problem solving and also to build their communication and teamwork skills.”

At the event, the teams will have approximately two hours to present and demonstrate their projects, according to Queen. Awards will then be presented during the last 30 minutes of the event.

“We've tried hard to make sure that projects are still interesting and challenging, but also accessible,” Queen said. “That's been our biggest challenge, adapting the projects themselves and requiring a three-dimensional [computer-aided design] final deliverable as opposed to a prototype.”

Queen said the incorporation of 3D design has been beneficial in introducing a new skill set for students. She said that some students may go on to use Fusion 360 or similar 3D design programs within their engineering major.

Clai McNutt, a first-year studying engineering, completed the collapsible bridge project with his group. He said E101 and FEDD have been useful in determining if engineering is right for him.

“I don't think we've had any particular challenges,” McNutt said. “One of the other members of my group already has used Fusion 360 in the past, so that made it a lot easier. I think if we didn't know how to work Fusion 360 it would not have gone very well.”

Bruno Cinelli Linhales, a first-year studying engineering, created a toy design project with his team for FEDD. He said that as an international student, it has been especially challenging to communicate with his group, but they have been doing their best to work together effectively.

“It has been challenging… I think this is the most difficult part for an engineer to be creative, and be able to build or come up with something that really matters and helps other people,” Linhales said. “I think this class is important because it kind of gives you the sense of what responsibilities engineers have, and what I need to expect.”

All 1,500 first-year engineering students will participate in the event, according to Queen. In total, Queen expects around 1,650 attendees for the event. She is really glad that students will get the opportunity to participate in FEDD this year, even if it is not quite the same.

“We've heard from a lot of students that it has been really hard for them to make connections if they're not on campus,” Queen said. “Continuing a team project, where students get to work with a couple of other individuals throughout the semester, felt really important for us so that engineers, and particularly our first-year students, could hopefully build some community within their class.”

To learn more about FEDD, students can go to the College of Engineering website.