Spotlight: Seth Ward ’23

SethWardSeth Ward ’23 is a software engineering major at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering. A New Zealand citizen, he also is a Strain Honors College student with minors in mathematics and computer science.

 

What has your experience in the engineering program been like so far?

“So far I think I’ve set a good basis of knowledge from my courses. Having a lot of contact with my professors has helped me learn more than I think I would have in huge classes based upon how I learn. The DesignSpine is great for incorporating knowledge from multiple different disciplines and bringing it together on one project. This is great because it gives you a lot of experience on what jobs will be like after college.”

Could you talk about your experience as an international student and how the pandemic affected you?

“During the Fall semester of 2020 I stayed at home in New Zealand due to the nature of the pandemic in the United States. All of my professors were very understanding and many went out of their way to help me throughout the semester. Most of the time they would record their Zoom lectures to the rest of the class and upload the footage to the Google Drive where I would be able to view them at a time which better suited me; this is because due to the 16-hour time difference the live classes were between midnight and 7 a.m. for me, which wouldn’t have been possible to complete my studies. I also worked with my professors to organize times to take tests which were different than the class times so that it would work for me.”

Have any faculty members mentored you?

“I work a lot with Dr. [Steve] Spicklemire over a wide range of my courses. He’s my point faculty on our Engineering Design spine project. Also has taken me for SWEN and Physics classes, I have regular contact with him and he helps and advises on anything I need.”

Seth Ward

Seth Ward (UIndy Athletics file photo)

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

“I’m part of the men’s soccer team here for the university. It’s the reason I’m here at the university; as an international student I was scouted to come play for the school. I think getting to play at the collegiate level is a great experience. Mainly just getting to be around the boys on the team is great.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen at UIndy?

“Don’t specialise too early; explore what’s on offer to find what you enjoy.”

What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?

“The small class sizes. You’re able to specialize and get a lot more one on one time with your professors. You also are able to create better working relationships with them which in turn helps out throughout your courses.”

University of Indianapolis R.B. Annis School of Engineering expands to innovative new space on Shelby St.

INDIANAPOLIS—The University of Indianapolis held a dedication ceremony Wednesday, March 24, 2021, to commemorate the state-of-the-art R.B. Annis Hall as the new home of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering. Located at 3750 South Shelby Street, R.B. Annis Hall will accommodate the University’s rapidly growing engineering program and allow the school’s DesignSpine component to expand beyond its original footprint and meet growing demand.

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering was established in 2017 through a transformative $5 million grant from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. Since its founding, the Annis School has set a regional standard as an innovative engineering school offering seven specialized areas of study in computer engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial & systems engineering, computer science, and general engineering. The R.B. Annis Hall expansion is the culmination of the University’s $25 million investment in its engineering programs.

“With the expansion of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, the University of Indianapolis is further strengthening its impact on economic growth across the state, both as a net importer of talent to Indiana and as an institution that is creating engineers who can produce solutions to the most critical engineering questions of our time,” said University of Indianapolis President Robert L. Manuel.

With 19 full-time faculty and directors and an average class size of ten students, the Annis School offers students real-world industry experience through internships and collaborative projects with internal and external clients, as well as mentoring and soft skills development. The inaugural Class of 2020 had a job placement rate of 92% and an average starting salary of $65,000. The University has provided $1.6 million in engineering scholarships in the 2020-21 academic year alone.

Ken Reid, associate dean and director of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, said in addition to providing the necessary space for programs, R.B. Annis Hall will support the school as it builds industry relationships in the community.

“We will be more visible to our engineering partners, which will lead to more projects and partnerships for our DesignSpine program. This means more real-world, hands-on experience for our students,” Reid said.

The larger space translates to more opportunities for creative and innovative designs from the Annis School’s student teams. Reid said students will have a greater opportunity to establish exceptional working relationships in larger maker spaces, shops and labs. Faculty will have the opportunity to more effectively work with and mentor teams, as well as to collaborate with each other and partners beyond campus.

Reid expects R.B. Annis Hall will pave the way for more innovative interdisciplinary projects which have been a hallmark of the Annis School. The recently launched Center for Collaborative Innovation, funded through an Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant, will further promote the collaborative innovation framework. 

President Robert L. Manuel

President Robert L. Manuel

“In addition to providing our students with innovative, cutting-edge experiences, these developments ensure that UIndy continues to meet current and long-term accreditation requirements. They also play a vital role in helping us to accommodate the increasing enrollments in our programs,” said President Robert L. Manuel.

About the University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 5,600 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: uindy.edu.

R.B. Annis School of Engineering moving to expanded space on Shelby St.

Starting this month, the R.B. Annis School of Engineering will begin moving into the newly renovated R.B. Annis Hall located at 3750 Shelby St. Since its founding, the school has rapidly grown into an innovative engineering school offering seven specialized areas of study in computer engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial & systems engineering, computer science, and general engineering. 

The larger facility on Shelby St. will accommodate these programs and address their space-related needs. The new space also allows the school’s DesignSpine component to expand beyond its original footprint and meet growing demand.

Ken Reid, associate dean and director of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, said in addition to providing the necessary space for programs, R.B. Annis Hall will support the school as it builds an identity on campus and in the community.

“We will be more visible to our engineering partners, which should lead to more projects and partnerships for our DesignSpine program. This means more real-world, hands-on experience for our students,” Reid said.

  • The newly renovated R.B. Annis Hall at 3750 S. Shelby St. will be the new home of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering starting in the Spring 2021 semester.
    The newly renovated R.B. Annis Hall at 3750 S. Shelby St. will be the new home of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering starting in the Spring 2021 semester.

The larger space translates to more opportunities for creative and innovative designs from the Annis School’s student teams. Reid said students will have a greater opportunity to establish exceptional working relationships in larger maker spaces, shops and labs. Faculty will have the opportunity to more effectively work with and mentor teams, as well as to collaborate with each other and other partners beyond campus.

“One aspect which I look most forward to is the creation of new space,” Reid added. “When student design teams meet with their industry customers, we’ll have a professional space in which to meet. The space itself will build a sense of community within students, and expand student opportunity.” 

Reid hopes R.B. Annis Hall will pave the way for more innovative interdisciplinary projects which have been a hallmark of the Annis School. The recently launched Center for Collaborative Innovation, funded through an Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant, will further promote the collaborative innovation framework. 

“In addition to providing our students with innovative, cutting-edge experiences, these developments ensure that UIndy continues to meet current and long-term accreditation requirements. They also play a critical role in helping us to accommodate the increasing enrollments in our programs,” said President Robert L. Manuel.

The newly available space in Martin Hall created by the R.B. Annis School of Engineering move will be used to meet a variety of needs across campus including additional space for the Department of Music. As part of these improvements, physical plant operations have moved to 3802 Shelby St. and their vacated building will be renovated to allow for the expansion of the Department of Art & Design.

Plans are underway for a safe celebration of the Annis School’s expansion. Details will be shared once those plans are finalized.

R.B. Annis School of Engineering rises to Top Dog Challenge with custom-built trebuchets

Marking the start of a new University of Indianapolis tradition, Homecoming 2020 brought together the ingenuity of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering (RBASOE) with the University’s philanthropic mission. 

Part of the Top Dog Challenge, a competition with Truman State University to see which institution could raise the most funds in support of local non-profit groups during Homecoming 2020, RBASOE built trebuchets for Catapult for a Cause and launched baseballs and pumpkins across the football field at Key Stadium for a fun-filled day.

“This was a great opportunity to apply engineering to make something fun,” said Paul Talaga, associate professor of engineering.

The project presented a real-world opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate and problem-solve during a tight time frame. James Emery, who manages mechanical systems and labs, said the team had about three weeks to design and build two steel trebuchets—an astonishing feat.  

  • Faculty and students in the R.B. Annis School of Engineering had three weeks to deliver the trebuchets.
    Faculty and students in the R.B. Annis School of Engineering had three weeks to deliver the trebuchets.

“The biggest challenges were time, access to weights and access to a location to test. The other big issue is the weight of the trebuchets alone. They weigh roughly 600 pounds each,” Emery explained.

Talaga coordinated the project and liaised with numerous university departments in the process. Faculty and students overcame several obstacles as the deadline loomed.

“We had a lot of challenges with the release angle. Without consistent access to a testing field and the effort involved with moving the trebuchets, we did not have enough time to test and fine-tune the configuration,” Talaga explained. “The student practice evening was rained out and the students didn’t have much time to experiment with the trebuchets before the competition.” 

Through trial and error, the team found settings that worked well for baseballs. 

“Luckily the same settings worked for the pumpkins!” Talaga said.

For students like Jared Hilt ’21 (mechanical engineering and physics major, mathematics minor), it was a chance to work on a one-of-a-kind project while putting his skills into action. He calibrated settings on the release angle, arm length, sling length and weight. He also reloaded the trebuchet and made sure it was safe to be around before firing.

“Being able to work on the project was fantastic. It provides valuable experience working with others and optimizing designs,” Hilt said.

Chijioke Ezeani ’22 (software engineering major, mathematics minor) appreciated the chance to work with engineers from different fields of expertise.

“I worked on pre-testing and assembling the trebuchet. My teammates and I were also responsible for changing the counterweight and length of the sling in order to optimize trebuchet launch and projectile,” Ezeani said.

Sam Schoonveld ’22 (mechanical engineering major, mathematics minor) assisted with transportation, set-up and testing of the trebuchet.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to work on this project, and I think that being able to have hands-on experience in fabricating a complex system like a catapult can help translate the various courses we have to take as engineers. My teamwork skills improved due to having to work with multiple classmates and faculty throughout the project.”

Steve Spicklemire, director of engineering instruction and associate professor of physics, noted how the trebuchet project aligned with the R.B. Annis School of Engineering’s DesignSpine curriculum, which allows students to develop technical and professional skills along with an entrepreneurial perspective. 

“Learning how to produce a working prototype on very short notice is exciting!” he said. “This was a great project for engineering students and faculty working together to build something that actually works very quickly.” 

“It was also gratifying to know that there was a dimension of charity with this project that provided a great mission and purpose for all this effort beyond the joy of engineering and competition for its own sake,” Spicklemire added.

Engineering faculty say the trebuchets will be useful in many future engineering courses as experiments and optimization.

“These types of projects are great examples of real-world projects. Trebuchet dynamics have been well-studied but matching the simulator’s results to real-experimentation is important,” Talaga said.

The Top Dog Challenge raised more than $8,000 for Indianapolis Animal Care Services, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

 

University of Indianapolis R.B. Annis School of Engineering receives 2020 Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant to boost entrepreneurship programming

The University of Indianapolis R.B. Annis School of Engineering (RBASOE) received a 2020 Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant for $50,000 to support program curriculum and entrepreneurship throughout the University. Elevate Ventures, a private venture development organization, facilitates the Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grants, which are made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The grant will provide enough funding to sustain operations for two consecutive years to support customer discovery, engineering design and prototyping by the RBASOE junior-level engineering students in the DesignSpine curriculum as they develop an entrepreneurial mindset as well as innovation-driven product development skills. A significant portion of the grant will also support students and faculty outside of the engineering program to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.

“This grant will enable our UIndy faculty and students to expand on the design aspect of engineering and explore further product development, which is an important component of the entrepreneurial mindset,” said Kenneth Reid, R.B. Annis School of Engineering associate dean. “It allows us to build upon the DesignSpine curriculum, a unique aspect of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.”

Reid noted RBASOE’s history of cross-departmental work through the DesignSpine.

“With this grant, students and faculty outside of engineering will have access to our entrepreneurial curriculum, additional funds to explore their ideas, and resources to support their ideas, product development, and commercialization endeavors,” Reid said.

David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, led the application grant. As an entrepreneur who is active in the Indiana technology development ecosystem, he saw the Elevate Nexus program as a valuable opportunity to expand on the RBASOE DesignSpine as well as to promote innovation-driven entrepreneurial activities across the University of Indianapolis.

“The goal is to create a center for collaborative innovation that includes expertise and resources from different disciplines and units across the University to serve students, faculty and staff,” Olawale said.

After taking part in the program, participants will be able to proceed to the Elevate Nexus pitch competition program where they can compete for a share of $660,000 to support their ideas and ventures.

A portion of the grant is designed to support an entrepreneurial summer camp for central Indiana high school students. The camp will expose students to the entrepreneurial mindset curriculum, engineering concepts, CAD skills and prototyping. The R.B. Annis School of Engineering has hosted summer camps concentrating on radio-controlled car optimization and the design and fabrication of electric go-karts.

“With this grant, future camps will be able to grow and expose more students to exciting new areas of engineering,” said Paul Talaga, associate professor of engineering.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: uindy.edu.

About Elevate Ventures
Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-growth businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, visit elevateventures.com.

University of Indianapolis R.B. Annis School of Engineering graduates first cohort

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis recently graduated its first cohort of students. Fifteen students received their diplomas in May, having completed programs in computer science, mechanical engineering, industrial and systems engineering and software engineering. The University created the engineering program in 2016 to address rising workforce demand and announced the R.B. Annis School of Engineering in 2017, made possible through a generous gift from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation.

“I am grateful to our faculty for creating an innovative curriculum and real-life learning opportunities that have established the R.B. Annis School of Engineering as a formidable and competitive program that honors the creative spirit of Robert B. Annis,” said Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president. “Congratulations to the first cohort on their incredible achievements.”

“The R.B. Annis School of Engineering has significantly enhanced the landscape of the University of Indianapolis,” said Debra Feakes, Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences dean. “By structuring our engineering program within the arts and sciences, UIndy offers boundless opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration that further prepares our students for the professional world.”

A student works in the engineering machine shop at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering

A student works in the engineering machine shop at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.

With the launch of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering in 2017, the graduation of this cohort is an important step towards program accreditation. The first group of R.B. Annis School of Engineering programs coming up for accreditation through the national Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) includes mechanical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and software engineering.  

ABET evaluates programs based on student performance, educational objectives, program curriculum and other factors. The accreditation process necessitates the program have a graduating class so that the ABET may evaluate the cycle of a completed program. Accreditation status is retroactive to the program’s first graduating class.

In 2023 the next group of programs to undergo the accreditation process includes electrical engineering, computer engineering, general engineering and computer science.

Students in the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, one of only two stand-alone engineering programs in the city of Indianapolis, have access to many unique experiences that supplement their classroom work under world-class faculty. The DesignSpine curriculum emphasizes project-oriented courses integrated with hands-on experiences. Students who study a broader variety of subjects develop valuable communication skills such as business and technical writing, public speaking and presentation readiness. This unique educational experience encourages students to immerse themselves in the engineering world by challenging themselves to think bigger, imagine greater and continuously work to improve and expand their knowledge.

As part of the School of Engineering’s unique DesignSpine curriculum, students in the third year of the program take part in a business pitch competition where they work in interdisciplinary teams to design and pitch a product, process or service in collaboration with industry mentors. Teams present their work to stakeholders from within and outside of the School of Engineering, including mentors from organizations such as Citizens Energy Group, Huntington Bank, and Anthem NGS. Students in the program also have access to the Engineering Makerspace, a unique environment for project-oriented learning and student research.

R.B. Annis School of Engineering donates PPE to Indianapolis healthcare workers

Healthcare workers at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis model face shields manufactured by James Emery, lab manager at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.

Healthcare workers at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis model face shields manufactured by James Emery, laboratory manager at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering is putting expertise and resources towards the fight against COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). James Emery, laboratory manager for mechanical systems, is printing face shields for St. Vincent Indianapolis emergency room healthcare workers.

“I asked some friends who are nurses if their emergency room would be in need. They are parents that I met through Indiana FIRST while mentoring a team,” Emery said. He has also been approached by a local fire department.

The design was provided by a 3D printing machine manufacturer that is producing the shields for local hospitals in Europe. Emery researched the need for face shields during the COVID-19 crisis and notes that the design has been vetted. He has registered with national initiatives to assist in the manufacturing of personal protective equipment for first responders. 

“During this pandemic, there are so many nurses and doctors who are working tirelessly to help the population,” Emery said. “I found that the 3D printing community was stepping up in huge ways to try and help.”

Emery had enough materials to manufacture about 50 face shields. He delivered them to St. Vincent in April.

“As we are left at home while the first responders, doctors and nurses are out every day trying to help the individuals that have been infected with this virus,” Emery said, “I wanted to do my part to help them.”

Emery is continuing to produce face shields and is planning to donate more as he is able to manufacture them.

Paul Talaga, assistant professor of engineering, donated 3D-printed "ear savers."

Paul Talaga, assistant professor of engineering, donated 3D-printed “ear savers.”

Paul Talaga, assistant professor of engineering, used a 3D printer to manufacture “ear savers” for healthcare workers on the frontline. The device attaches to the elastic straps of the mask to alleviate discomfort. To reduce the danger of contracting the disease, healthcare workers must wear a mask at all times when working with patients.

Talaga has delivered 100 ear savers to four Indianapolis-area hospitals.

A nurse at an Indianapolis-area hospital wears one of the "ear-savers" produced by Paul Talaga.

A nurse at an Indianapolis-area hospital wears one of the “ear-savers” produced by Paul Talaga.

 

R. B. Annis School of Engineering hosts FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff Event

The R. B. Annis School of Engineering hosted the annual FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff Event in early January. Dozens of high school students from around the state received their challenge to design, build, program and test a robot within six weeks. 

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering also designed and fabricated cell-phone holders for all student participants.

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering also designed and fabricated cell-phone holders for all student participants.

It’s all part of the INFINITE RECHARGE FIRST RISE℠, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, a worldwide challenge for young inventors to test their mettle and collaborative skills, organized locally by IndianaFIRST. R. B. Annis School of Engineering faculty and students provided presentations, met with students, and offered a VR experience of the newly-released game field. 

At Saturday’s Kickoff, teams were shown the INFINITE RECHARGE game field and challenge details for the first time, and received the Kickoff Kit of Parts, which is made up of motors, batteries, control system components, construction materials, and a mix of additional automation components. With limited instructions students, working with experienced mentors, have about six weeks to create their robots to meet the new 2020 season’s engineering challenge. Once the teams build a robot, students will participate in one or more of the Indiana district events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

New challenging game elements in the game INFINITE RECHARGE make for a complicated strategy with many options. INFINITE RECHARGE has high school robotics team students around the world eager to capture a championship. After the game was revealed Saturday, students immediately began brain-storming and drawing up initial designs for robots that will compete at several events this season. Teams have about 6 weeks to build their robots before the competition season begins.

During the FIRST build season, multiple UIndy faculty, staff, and students assist local FIRST teams with their robots, including the fabrication of parts using the R. B. Annis School of Engineering’s fabrication facilities.

“Shark Tank” meets DesignSpine at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering Business Pitch Competition

Imagine a data analytics tool to help universities demonstrate the value of higher education. Or an after-market device that alerts drivers to motorcyclists lurking in their blind spots. How about a better charging station for your electronic devices?

Students from the R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis presented plans for these ideas at the inaugural Business Pitch Competition held in April 2019.

20190423_Engineering_Business_Pitches_48603As part of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering’s unique DesignSpine curriculum, students in the third year of the program work in interdisciplinary teams to design and pitch a product, process or service in collaboration with industry mentors. At the inaugural event, three teams presented their work to faculty from within and outside of the School of Engineering, including mentors from Citizens Energy Group, Huntington Bank, and Anthem NGS.

Following a “Shark Tank”-style competitive format, the teams presented prototypes for a multifunctional charging station, a motorcycle detection system, and an analytical software tool that explored the return on investment of university education. The team challenge is aimed at developing a mindset that combines design and entrepreneurship.

20190423_Engineering_Business_Pitches_48577

With more than 200 students now enrolled, the R.B. Annis School of Engineering offers an array of programs, including computer, computer science, electrical,  industrial & systems, mechanical, software and general engineering.

José R. Sánchez, associate dean of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, refers to DesignSpine as the R.B. Annis School of Engineering’s “secret sauce” that informs students’ learning experiences throughout the program. The goal is to help students graduate with a multi-layered skill set that helps them stand out in a competitive workforce.

“We want to make sure our students are working in interdisciplinary teams as early as freshman year learning how to collaborate, be creative, think critically and, most importantly, become modern engineers and industry leaders,” Sánchez said.

Working closely with industry mentors to identify market demands, the teams collaborated throughout the academic year, consulting with School of Engineering and Department of Communication faculty.

20190423_Engineering_Business_Pitches_48524During their presentations, students must demonstrate how their solution beats the competition; how the product works; how they will position themselves in the market and find channels to move the product to customers; articulate the revenue projections, as well as create an overall business plan. Faculty and industry mentors questioned the students and voted according to the criteria. The winner was the Eagle Eye, a motorcycle detection device.

David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, said students work in interdisciplinary teams to learn skills that will set them apart as future business owners or employees.

“It is a joy to see the transformation in the students over the course of the two semesters in a bid to convert an idea into a viable venture,” Olawale said. “They move from being just technically focused to developing an entrepreneurial mindset whereby they see problems as opportunities, and where they focus on the customers and value creation.”

Richard Calvert ’16 (MBA), an energy distribution design manager with Citizens Energy Group, was one of several industry mentors who worked with the students throughout the year to provide advice and feedback.

20190423_Engineering_Business_Pitches_48560-Pano“The work the students have produced is professional, polished, and practical. The process starts with a project concept discussion. The students do their work with periodic gate reviews that are very helpful and then a final presentation,” Calvert explained.

For the students, the experience has been transformational. Allison Zwickl ’20 (industrial & systems engineering), whose group presented the multifunctional charging station, went from being doubtful to confident in presenting her product.

“Even though it has been a challenging year for everyone, I really feel like it has changed us all for the better. For myself, it helped with my speaking skills. At the business pitch this year I was comfortable talking about our product,” said Zwickl.

Zwickl credits her new communication skills with landing her an internship at Sallie Mae.

20190423_Engineering_Business_Pitches_48574“The most important thing they were looking for was not if you knew how to do technical things. They wanted to know how I could communicate with everyone around me. And ultimately my internship has a lot to do with communicating with a variety of departments, and I would not have that skill if it wasn’t for these classes,” she added.

Sánchez said the focus on communication is by design.

“Our goal is to create leaders who can communicate effectively to various audiences by the time students get to senior year,” he said.

Payton Staman ’20 (mechanical engineering) added, “The focus on entrepreneurship layered with the challenge to develop engineering solutions helped shift students’ perspectives to consider the business implications.”

“This project helped us develop our interdisciplinary competencies and the connection between our major and the sales and marketing sectors,” Staman said. “Igniting each engineer’s internal passions and an entrepreneurial mindset is the key to taking our professional careers to the next level!”

Learn more about the R.B. Annis School of Engineering

Written by Sara Galer, Communications & Content Strategy Manager, University of Indianapolis. Share your story ideas with newsdesk@uindy.edu.