Engineering Grant Awardees Announced

Chancellor Charles Davis and Director of Academic Affairs Dr. Albert Lozano-Nieto are pleased to announce the awarding of two Research Grants from the Engineering Technology and Commonwealth Engineering division in the Penn State College of Engineering to Instructor in Computer Science, Jeff Chiampi and Instructor in Engineering, Tim Sichler.

The purpose of the ETCE-RDGs is to provide engineering faculty at University College campuses with funding for small research projects and scholarly activities related to the applicant's area of interest. Grant funds are to be used for technical and pedagogical research in the commonwealth campuses in all engineering and technology areas.

Chiampi's grant funding will go towards the purchase of LEGO® EV3 Education kits for his fall semester Programming for Engineers with MatLab class (CMPSC 200).

"CMPSC 200 is an introductory programming course for engineers using MatLab. Introductory Computer Science students often struggle with the abstract nature of the topics they are studying. Students become frustrated with the programming process and struggle to relate to the significance of the course material," explains Chiampi. "I plan to examine how the level of engagement of engineering students changes when exposed to Computer Science projects that involve physical components. Specifically, I will be utilizing LEGO® EV3 Education kits since they are supported directly through MatLab which is an essential a component of CMPSC 200. The kits provide a variety of input and output methods which can be integrated to MatLab programs."

Sichler's grant funding will go towards the purchase and utilization of 3-Dimensional Printers in the campus' Introduction to Engineering Design (EGDSN 100) classes. EGDSN 100 is an introductory course, most often attended by Freshman Engineering majors, and required for a variety of Engineering-related majors

"Utilizing 3-dimensional (3D) printing can spark interest in freshman engineers and keep interest in engineering fresh throughout their education. Due to the highly mathematical nature of the engineering field, students in engineering majors may not have the opportunity for practical experience in the design of physical objects," states Sichler. "The goal of this project is to investigate how the level of engagement of freshman engineering students increases when exposed to new, state-of-the-art technologies. These tools allow them to move from the abstraction level of design and visualization to a physical object. We also intend to evaluate how different groups of learners respond to the use of these new technologies."