2 responses to “Engineering Education Beyond the Classroom”

  1. Cherish The Scientist

    I guess my experience may be a bit skewed since my undergrad was in physics. However, I was a McNair student and therefore got to do research as an undergrad. I got experience in applied math, cosmology, and the solar wind/atmospheric interface. The last project actually had a lot to do with me going into EE because I had to build a lot of equipment and do some signal processing. So I agree…experience outside the classroom is as or more important than what’s done in the classroom.

  2. Carmen Parisi

    I had to do a series of co-ops over the course of my time in school in order to graduate and all three greatly contributed to my education. I wouldn’t say they trumped the classroom hands down (maybe for some areas yes) but rather they complemented what I’d learned in lecture. Going out and working for real companies taught me the value of good technical writing (things that people actually need to be able to understand and follow either long after I’m gone or cause they’re across the country), practical circuit design, how to debug hardware, and several neat lab tricks that have come in handy over and over again.

    Going back to school after one of these co-ops definitely gave me new perspective on what I was learning. I could then see how important something actually was, how to apply it, or how pointless something was as was the case for a few of my labs. From a job hunt perspective having these experiences where I actually did something real as opposed to trivial designs and theory made me stand out a great deal from other candidates. I would highly recommend a student going out on co-op or joining a technical club while they’re in college.