Capstone projects help build bridge to careers

Senior projects for Penn State Harrisburg engineering students have been a long-standing tradition, said Dr. Rick Ciocci, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The projects are an opportunity for students to apply everything they’ve learned and to transfer into the job market, he noted.

“We do a lot of team work in many classes, but when it comes down to the senior project and the entire grade riding on its success, I think it kind of drives home the idea of cooperation and team work,” Ciocci said. “Students learn how creative they can be in both the ideas of the project and also in managing the projects — how to get things done.”

Giraffe in a NYC taxi
Fall 2012

All told, engineering majors completed 26 senior projects in April 2012.

[See photos of students presenting their projects during the Engineering Capstone Design Conference.]

 Besides Georges’ auto-assist clutch project, others included a vehicle-fire suppression system, a green electrolysis hydrogen production system, a moving soccer-goalie target, and controllable vehicle window tinting.

Locally-based businesses, led by ArcelorMittal, provided support for the capstone projects. Others included Brenner Motors and Phoenix Contact. The year’s work culminated at the Engineering Capstone Design Conference, April 21, 2012, when the students presented their projects to the public.

[Read more: News coverage of the Engineering Capstone Design Conference]

“Engineers, regardless of what type, will always be working on some type of project,” Ciocci said. “We like to think that the senior project is a real good warm-up (for) their careers.”