CEID reaches out to students

The new Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, which opened this August, is located on the first floor of the Becton Center.
The new Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, which opened this August, is located on the first floor of the Becton Center. Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

The Center for Engineering Innovation & Design held orientation sessions for 60 prospective members last week in an effort to reach out to the engineering community on campus.

In order to use the CEID, which opened Aug. 26 and houses classroom and research space, students must pass an online quiz about the center’s goals and regulations and also attend an orientation session about what resources are available and how to use them. Last week the center also hired three student aides, who will provide additional guidance to members throughout the semester as they use the facilities.

As of Sunday night, 160 students had taken the CEID’s member quiz, and around that number have either already attended an orientation session or registered for an upcoming one, engineering professor and CEID Director Eric Dufresne said.

“We’re delighted with the number of students who have already come [for orientation sessions] and plan to come in the near future,” Dufresne said.

SEAS Deputy Dean Vincent Wilczynski told the News earlier this month that he believes the CEID will attract more freshmen and sophomores to engineering majors.

During the orientation sessions, which began last Tuesday and typically last for about 45 minutes, Assistant CEID Director Joseph Zinter ENG ’11 shows students the center’s laboratory equipment, tools and meeting spaces, Dufresne said, adding that he and Zinter emphasize the importance of safe practices. He also said the groups are capped at 15 students each to enable participation.

As the center’s popularity grows, Dufresne said he plans to hire a total of six student aides to help train new members, plan activities and maintain the center’s equipment. The student aides will organize a variety of activities, including lectures, workshops and networking events, he said. Though these six student aides will all be undergraduates, he added that he hopes to eventually acquire funding to hire graduate student staff as well.

All 12 students interviewed who are planning to use the facilities said they are excited by the opportunities the center offers. Jean Zheng ENG ’14 said she expects the center’s community environment to improve her research and efficiency, adding that it was clear to her that a lot of work had gone into making the facility both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Mechanical engineering major Jerry Wang ’13, who attended an orientation on Wednesday, called the tour of the center “an experience closely approximating spirituality” for those excited by the prospect of STEM programming.

“The center is simply marvelous,” he said. “There’s no getting away from that.”

Mechanical engineering major Chase Young ’13 said he believes CEID creates an opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation that was not possible before the center’s creation, adding that he hopes student groups and administrators will actively seek out ways to make use of the facilities.

The three student aides hired thus far are Stephen Hall ’14 and Jan Kolmas ’14, who are majoring in mechanical engineering, and Ellen Su ’13, who is majoring in art.

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