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What I Did This Summer...Students Learn Valuable Project Development Experiences at Rose-Hulman Ventures

August 24, 2011

Alex Titus lifts his welding helmet and surveys the bead of weld he just laid down.  The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior mechanical engineering major spent the summer working on a project at Rose-Hulman Ventures that provided the unique opportunity to be involved with a project from concept to its completion.

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Hands-On Learning: Alex Titus studies the plans before putting the finishing touches on a welding project that was part of his summer experiences at Rose-Hulman Ventures.  Titus, a senior mechanical engineering student, learned valuable lessons about welding and other items about product development.

Rose-Hulman Ventures, a certified technology park located on Rose-Hulman's South Campus, produces solutions for client companies in a wide variety of industries.  Along with way, Rose-Hulman students are a vital part of multidisciplinary teams which solve industrial technology challenges, while gaining valuable hands-on, real-world experience.

"I worked with clients, talked to vendors, ordered components and participated in a team with other disciplines," Titus explained during a break in his welding assignment.

In addition to honing communication, management and collaboration skills, Titus gained insight into designing for manufacturability.  The Highlands, N.J., native had never welded before coming to Rose-Hulman Ventures. 

"It's a lot of good work experience and really a level of learning I wouldn't be able to attain in the classroom," he adds.

Titus wasn't alone.  In the electronics shop, sophomore electrical engineering major Wesley McCullough soldered a custom circuit board to provide the electronic components needed for various projects.    He kept track of inventory to ensure that components were always on hand, and helped other students acquire items necessary to complete their projects before the end of the summer.

"I wanted a job that would give me good experience in the field," said the Terre Haute native about this summer's internship.  "I liked going around to all the different projects and seeing what they're doing."

Throughout his summer experience, McCullough gleaned valuable knowledge from other disciplines.

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Looking At The Big Picture: Wesley McCullough, a sophomore electrical engineering major, used state-of-the-art equipment to examine circuit boards used for projects that were completed this summer at Rose-Hulman Ventures.
 
    Learning About Technology:  Daniel Dalenberg, a senior mechanical engineering major, learned to use a water jet cutter to create parts from aluminum.  The equipment is part of the state-of-the-art technology available at Rose-Hulman Ventures.
 

Down the hall at Rose-Hulman Ventures, Daniel Dalenberg of Georgetown, Ill., could be found at the controls of the water jet cutter as it sliced shapes out of a piece of aluminum.

"If you can draw it flat, you can cut it on the water jet," said Dalenberg about the machine.

The water jet cutter is programmed to make parts based on computer-aided design files students created for the custom components needed for each project. Depending on the project, students may use the machine to create parts from aluminum, stainless steel, polycarbonate or other materials.

"We're building functional prototypes of the new designs we're working on," Dalenberg explained of his work.

For the senior mechanical engineering major, working at Rose-Hulman Ventures has sparked an interest in biomedical design.

"It's a great biomedical engineering experience which I hope will help me get into the industry when I graduate," Dalenberg said.

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Problem Solver: Han Yang helped design, build and test an automated apparatus which will increase efficiency for a Rose-Hulman Ventures client company.  Yang is a senior majoring in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.  

In a nearby laboratory space, Han Yang tested the custom machine she designed and built for a client in the biomedical industry.  The senior mechanical and electrical engineering double major from China created an automated apparatus which will increase efficiency for the client's manufacturing process.

"It's like a design from zero project," she said about her work on the prototype. Yang used both her electrical and mechanical engineering knowledge to create the machine, but the project also provided a unique opportunity for hands-on experience.  A lathe, water jet cutter and other machine tools were used to create the custom-made small parts necessary to build the device.

"Half the time I spent on this project was spent in the machine shop," she said. 
Yang also experienced the business side of product development, meeting weekly with the client and learning about budgetary concerns.  She says her internship at Rose-Hulman Ventures has given her valuable hands-on opportunities as well as clarity of purpose for her career.

Rose-Hulman Ventures brings together outstanding students with technology-based companies.  For students, that means the best engineering professional practice experience possible within an academic program.  For businesses, it means prototypes, refining the design of existing products, and expanding current engineering capabilities.  Find out more at www.rhventures.org.