Engineering Senior Design is perhaps the course that most resembles what an engineering professional will be required to do during their career; it is the bridge between the academic classroom and the engineering profession. This textbook will support students as they learn to apply their previously-developed skills to solve a complex engineering problem during a senior-level design course.This textbook follows the design life cycle from project initiation to completion and introduces students to many soft engineering skills, such as communication, scheduling, and technical writing, in the context of an engineering design. Students are instructed how to define an engineering problem with a valid problem statement and requirements document. They will conceptualize a complex solution and divide that solution into manageable subsystems. More importantly, they will be introduced to Project Management techniques that will help students organize workloads, develop functional engineering-teams, and validate solutions, all while increasing the likelihood of a successful completion to the project. Throughout the experience, students are instructed that a well-intentioned solution is not particularly useful unless it can be communicated and documented. To that end, this textbook will help students document their work in a professional manner and to present their ideas to stakeholders in a variety of formal design-reviews.With the support of this textbook, by the end of a student¿s senior design experience, each individual will be ready to communicate with other engineering professionals, effectively support engineering design-teams, and manage complex project to solve the next generation¿s engineering challenges.
Cory Mettler was introduced to project management at IBM while working as an environmental-test co-op. There he had the opportunity to manage schedules and report on test results for a large department responsible for numerous tests with limited resources. Mettler later put some of those skills to work as a graduate student working in a satellite calibration lab by tracking test-site maintenance relative to satellite pass-overs. These initial exposures to project management soon changed the trajectory of his career.
A year after graduate school, Mettler was recognized for these project management skills and was soon managing a division of engineering research and development. Projects included robotic systems, micro-sensors, and energy-scavenging power supply development. Eventually, he also took a position as the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for a distributed generation consulting firm.
Today, Mettler uses his industry experience to enrich his classrooms by providing a taste of real-world experience within the academic setting to provide students a safe place to experience many skill-sets which most ¿typical¿ college courses do not provide. Between 2013 ¿ 2019 Mettler developed and managed the senior design capstone course at South Dakota State University, since 2019 he has assisted with the same courses at Montana State University.