2014-2015 Year-End Highlights

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As the academic year comes to a close, I am taking a moment to catch my breath and update you on some of the highlights during the past year. One thing seems certain. The USD Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering is on an upward trajectory and doesn't show signs of stopping!

Students are the number one reason we are here at USD. Our faculty are focused on providing an engaged and hands-on undergraduate engineering education. While many of our faculty also conduct research, this is never at the expense of our students’ learning experiences. This makes USD different from other engineering schools in the region. A total of 65 engineering students participated in commencement in 2015 with an additional 10 scheduled to graduate in August. Nearly one-third of these are women. Many of them were working at local companies prior to graduating. Others have employment lined up immediately following graduation. Still others are spending the summer traveling before settling into full-time employment in the fall. Watching these students receive their diplomas at commencement gave me an immense feeling of hope, as I know that each will do his/her part to make the world a better place.

Many of these students received some form of financial support to help them complete their degrees. Scholarship donations, large and small, from individuals like you make an enormous difference for our students. I am very grateful for your generosity.

All of the students who graduated in 2015 are entering the workforce with hands-on experience in real engineering projects. Our Industry Partnership Program, launched in 2015 with an initial group of six companies, provided our senior design students with projects to work on throughout the year. These and other senior design projects were on display at our spring Engineering Showcase. The projects were defined and guided by industry with oversight by engineering faculty members. Many of the students were subsequently hired by the sponsoring company. One student team co-published a paper with their corporate sponsor, which was then presented at a professional conference. All of this provides critical experience for students as they move into their careers. In 2016, we will expand the Industry Partnership Program with additional sponsors.

We opened our first phase of newly renovated facilities this past spring. From the Cymer Ideation Space, a flexible space where students gather to sketch out ideas, to Donald’s Garage, a prototyping studio named after the late Donald Shiley (who was a great inventor and innovator himself), to the Fab Lab, where students bring their projects to life, the facilities follow the engineering life cycle from concept to finished product. If you haven’t checked out this cool, new space and would like to, please let us know. We’re happy to show it to you. And we are already planning Phase Two…

During the 2014-2015 academic year, engineering faculty and students engaged in several international projects, working with communities in developing countries. Dr. Truc Ngo led a team of 20 engineering students and staff members to implement water filtration systems and more efficient cook stoves in several villages in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Frank Jacobitz traveled with students and faculty from across USD to work on a project to remove contaminants from the water supply in Mbarara, Uganda. A USD engineering student won the top prize in the 2015 Social Innovation Challenge, receiving $17,000 for his portable water filtration system for communities in developing countries. Two other USD engineering teams won funding, as well. We hope to continue building our peace engineering portfolio in 2016 and for the long-term.

Thank you for all of your support over the past year.


Dr. Chell Roberts, Dean, Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering