Thursday, March 17, 2022

UTSA community engagement project highlights the impact of climate change

UTSA community engagement project highlights the impact of climate change

Vianney Aguilera ‘21, who graduated last fall with a B.S. in electrical engineering, participated in the EPICS program at The DoSeum.

JANUARY 24, 2022 — UTSA's Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), a program in the UTSA Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design, is working with The DoSeum, San Antonio’s renowned children’s museum, to develop an interactive educational experience. The project, a 4D Helicopter Immersion exhibit, is designed to expose Doers—the name for DoSeum attendees—to the impacts of climate change.

In early discussions with The DoSeum, UTSA students involved in the EPICS program considered developing an arcade game and also had an idea to include drones.

"When discussing this project with The DoSeum, they asked us if we could combine all of the elements, so it became a helicopter simulation," said Vianney Aguilera ‘21, who graduated last fall with a B.S. in electrical engineering. "So the children will get to choose which part of the world they'd like to visit. Let's say it’s the Arctic. The exhibit will simulate the helicopter taking off and then landing in the Arctic, where they will see the impact of climate change."


“We’ve learned more in-depth CAD (computer-aided design) and programming skills and have experienced the design and project management side of things.”



The project is still in the early phases and the EPICS team plans on having it ready for installation this summer, as part of The DoSeum’s “Earth Matters” exhibit for their “Summer of Sustainability” series. While Aguilera has graduated, several members of the EPICS team remain enrolled at UTSA, including Roman Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, a senior electrical engineering major, feels the project with The DoSeum is a great opportunity to expand upon the skills and knowledge developed through classwork at UTSA.

“It has drawn many elements together,” said Gonzalez. “We’ve learned more in-depth CAD (computer-aided design) and programming skills and have experienced the design and project management side of things.” Aguilera adds, “The major difference between EPICS and a typical class is the constant change. The project develops and expands, you meet bumps where you have to figure things out.”

The project, the latest in an ongoing relationship between the Klesse College and The DoSeum, is a great opportunity for students to give back to the local community while sharpening career-ready skills through experiential learning.

“The EPICS program allows The DoSeum to tap into the incredible burgeoning engineering talent here in San Antonio,” said DoSeum Vice President of Exhibits Meredith Doby. “We’re excited to give students the opportunity for a real-world client relationship and teach them about the museum exhibition design field.”

August Allo, EPICS director and UTSA associate professor of instruction in the Klesse College’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, sees the program as an important way for students to develop important skills for professional success.

“EPICS provides a wonderful opportunity for students to experience the design process throughout their entire academic progression from their freshman year until they graduate, work on engineering solutions that will be put into practice, and experience the entire design process,” Allo said, “all while experiencing a real, observable impact on our local community.”


EXPLORE FURTHER
Learn more about the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Read more about the EPICS program.

“EPICS is a wonderful program that facilitates truly remarkable projects,” said JoAnn Browning, dean of Klesse College. “It’s a real win-win as our students work with industry partners from the ideation phase, throughout design and fabrication, and ultimately deliver impactful results that benefit the community. UTSA is committed to creating rigorous and rewarding experiential learning opportunities that chart clear pathways for students from the classroom to a career.”

When asked about advice for current and prospective students considering EPICS, Aguilera said, “Being involved in EPICS gave me a lot of great experiences. I eased into things early and built my skills and confidence over time. I had a lot of fun and made connections with a great group of friends and mentors. If you’re considering EPICS, I suggest jumping in.”

Rory Dew



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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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