Engineering center opens

The Center for Engineering Innovation & Design, which opened Aug. 26 in the Becton Center, held a kickoff event last Monday.
The Center for Engineering Innovation & Design, which opened Aug. 26 in the Becton Center, held a kickoff event last Monday. Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science opened new facilities this fall to centralize its resources for students and expand research space for faculty.

The Center for Engineering Innovation & Design opened Aug. 26, taking over the space previously occupied by the Engineering and Applied Science Library in Becton Center. Administrators said they hope the new center will foster a more vibrant “culture of engineering” on campus.

“We want engineering to be more visible on campus,” SEAS Deputy Dean Vincent Wilczynski said. “I’m confident that [these new facilities] will have a great impact on the engineering community.”

The CEID includes a studio with multiple workstations and a range of equipment, a machine shop, a wood shop, a wet lab, a lecture room and several meeting rooms. The Center hosts design-related engineering courses, including the mechanical engineering and electrical engineering capstone design courses this fall. It will also hold workshops on mechanism dissection, computer-aided design and other skills for CEID members starting this month. Any student can become a member of the Center by passing a quiz and attending an safety and instructional orientation. Several science and engineering student groups have also been invited to use the CEID spaces for their own projects.

Stephen Hall ’14, president of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association, said he is “extremely excited” about the new space, adding that the group needed to build their aircraft in several locations before the CEID opened.

“In the design center, we can do everything at once, from cutting materials and hardware assembly, to fabrication of electrical circuits and debugging,” Hall said. “We will also take advantage of the guidance the CEID staff and other members offer.”

Elizabeth Asai ’13, who developed an award-winning melanoma screening device last year along with Nickolas Demas ’13 and Elliot Swart ’13, said the team will still benefit from the facilities even though their product is already past the design stages. She anticipates using the offices in the center to develop business strategy, take conference calls and rehearse product pitches.

The Center will also feature a high-tech café, slated to begin operations in October. Spearheaded by a team of mostly Yale alumni, the café will feature a 356 square foot installation of programmable LED art that students will be able to manipulate directly.

Wilczynski said the new facilities may also help expand Yale’s engineering student community by encouraging more prospective engineering students to apply and matriculate to Yale, as well as attract freshmen and sophomores to the engineering majors.

Should Yale’s engineering community continue to grow — the class of 2016 has the highest ever percentage of students who expressed interested in STEM majors — Wilczynski said the University will need more engineering faculty. He said the newly renovated 17 Hillhouse Ave., the former site of Yale Health, will help accommodate additional faculty, including some hired through the $50 million donation from John Malone ’63 last year. The first Malone professor, biomedical engineering professor Stuart Campbell, has already been selected, and five more searches are currently underway.

The development of CEID cost $6.5 million, and its grand opening was held on Aug. 26 as part of freshman orientation.

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