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The future of engineering on campus: CECS looks to students for input on what's next

June 23, 2014
Aundria Gutierrez

Computer science student Aundria Gutierrez talks with College of Engineering and Computer Science alumni and staff about The Big M manufacturing conference. She attended the event to connect with manufacturers and learn about future technologies for engineering education.

University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) students recently attended The Big M Event in Detroit to look to the future of engineering education: What technologies should an engineering college consider? What could a classroom or lab facility on campus look like?

Joseph LaRussa, adviser to the university’s Engineering Organization Council, believes student leaders are in the best position to present unfiltered answers to those questions. The UM-Dearborn alumnus arranged for students to attend the conference, which brings together industry professionals and manufacturers to. Discover what’s next in manufacturing.

“Based on their experiences and what they know from co-ops and internships, they understand the gaps between the equipment we have and what is used in industry, as well as what is missing from what they learn in the classroom,” said LaRussa, who serves as manufacturing engineering/launch manager, North America, for Varroc Lighting Systems.

LaRussa had two goals for CECS students: gain exposure to the most advanced manufacturing technology on the market and begin to understand how working relationships form and business gets done.

“Understanding how to draw the interest of exhibitors and then framing the opportunity for them to collaborate with UM-Dearborn was a big learning experience,” he said.

Computer science student Aundria Gutierrez was one of nine CECS students to attend the event. She met with manufacturers to check out the latest offerings and learn how the university might work with them in the future.

“I wanted manufacturers to see that UM-Dearborn has a thriving and caring CECS student body,” she said. “It was nice that people loved seeing the university there and wanted to get involved. We want them to be part of our transformation.”

The students presented their findings to a group of about 35 CECS staff and alumni during an alumni reception.

“Modern engineering’s educational standards increasingly emphasize integrated, hands-on and interdisciplinary learning. The future of our college is dependent on our ability to provide an inviting classroom and laboratory space that produces competent and creative engineers,” said CECS Dean Tony England. “Our students are a valuable resource for the college as we discuss the future of engineering facilities on campus.”

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