SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 — The UTSA College of Engineering and Integrated Design (CEID) is employing state-of-the art facilities at its Main and Downtown campuses to ensure that students are well-prepared for bold futures in an increasingly competitive working environment.
“All engineers, architects, urban planners and construction science majors have a senior studio or a capstone project where they take what they've learned to solve a unique problem,” said CEID Dean JoAnn Browning. “Now, they're going to do it with a perspective of what the other disciplines bring to the table by putting them in teams to solve problems together. That doesn't happen everywhere and will be something unique that UTSA brings to their education.”
Mark Blizard, interim director of CEID’s School of Architecture and Planning, agrees. In the world of architecture, he says projects often involve bringing in acoustic or lighting specialists, along with engineers for their insights.“It's an extension of what we do anyway, which is to create a very multifaceted environment, that allows the students to engage in the whole that actually is architecture,” he said.
Blizard adds that an interesting and exciting aspect of CEID’s growth will involve bringing analytic and creative thinkers together.
“There's got to be common ground that you establish,” he said. “You're not trying to force a relationship; you're trying to offer a common ground that allows relationships to develop.”
On the engineering side, Ender Finol, the interim chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is confident common ground can quickly be established. One way he sees this developing is when students across the college begin using project facilities located at both the Main and Downtown campuses.
“I think these facilities within the college will promote transition and facilitate collaboration, especially when ACP (architecture, construction and planning) students begin to use the Makerspace in our new Science and Engineering Building,” Finol said. “The professors I’ve spoken to in architecture recognize the opportunity for mechanical engineers to work with their students.”
Mayra Angelica Sanchez-Perez Landin is an architecture major graduating in spring 2022. When she needed help on a project, a professor encouraged her to reach out to engineering students and professors for input. Sanchez-Perez Landin found the experience very valuable. With engineering and ACP now combined, she sees great potential through a designed partnership from both sides of the college.
“It’s been very helpful to partner with an engineering student on a project to make it more well-rounded,” Sanchez-Perez Landin said. “With the merger of both colleges, we’ll have that opportunity to collaborate on integrated projects to enhance our learning experience. I think it's a great opportunity for the next generation of CEID students to come.”
Joshua Barron, who is set to graduate in fall 2022 with an electrical engineering degree, is a huge fan of the Makerspace, which spans 17,000 square feet on the first floor of the Science and Engineering Building. He credits the equipment and support available in the area for helping him complete his projects efficiently and professionally. He thinks the Makerspace could be extremely valuable to architecture students in particular, given the array of 3D printers available.
“If they don't already use it, I'm confident they'll probably start using it more now because it’s available,” he said. “If they’re designing something on paper and want to see what it looks like in real life, they can produce a small, 1/1,000 scale example. I think using the Makerspace will let them do a lot more of the prototyping taking place in business.”
Though Sanchez-Perez Landin is anxious to visit the Makerspace, she agrees it will be a welcome resource completing her senior year projects.
“I’m impressed by everything the engineering students have available to them. Having access to different types of 3D printers and other tools are going to help enhance our design projects,” she said. “Also, the fact that students and professors are willing to collaborate and having access to them through the Makerspace is an exciting possibility for architecture students.”
Internships offer valuable experiential learning opportunities for UTSA students. Engineering and ACP students regularly secured prime internships through their respective colleges. Finol believes students will now have more internship options through CEID.
“We’re discussing with our engineering students internships they hadn’t considered before, as in the architecture/construction science industries. These were uncommon opportunities for our students,” he said. “I imagine architecture students would also benefit by seeking internship opportunities with companies that typically only hire engineers.”
New internship options, expanded learning laboratories and collaboration projects available from CEID all support the Classroom to Career Initiative in UTSA’s 10-year strategic plan, A Vision for UTSA.
“How do we prepare people for careers? How do we make sure UTSA is serving San Antonio, serving the industries that are going to hire our students and serving our students who come here to prepare for these careers?” Browning asked. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to lead a college that is innovative and strategically developed to meet the needs of our students and society in a 21st century world.”
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