The Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology seeks to “develop men and women of faith, character, and technical ability who will become outstanding leaders throughout the world.” The college emphasizes the importance of research as part of this development, and goes to great lengths to ensure that its 3,500 undergraduate students receive ample opportunity to participate in mentored research projects.
As part of these projects, students have the chance to work alongside the college’s world-class faculty in over 100 state-of-the-art laboratories as they conduct innovative experiments.
“I really enjoyed all of the hands-on research and problem solving I got to do,” said BYU Alum Rebecca Brenning (BS ’06 Electrical Engineering). “I feel that the experience helped prepare me for a job in the real engineering world more than most of my classes did. It [gave] me the desire to…continue my education and research opportunities.”
For years, students like Rebecca have benefited from the college’s hands-on approach as they seek employment after graduation. While BYU ranks 14th in the nation for the number of students who go on to earn a PhD in engineering, the college also prides itself in preparing its students for the workforce immediately upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree. College faculty have always made job placement a priority, and students consistently find employment at major companies like Ford, Boeing and Intel.
Soon, engineering students will have yet another reason to be excited about their BYU experience. After four years of fundraising and an estimated two years of construction, the new engineering building will be completed within a year. This $80 million, state-of-the-art facility will serve as the new home for engineering students, and because it includes a café that serves three meals a day, we mean that quite literally! This building represents the generosity of over 18,000 BYU alumni and supporters, and demonstrates the university’s commitment to be among the very best engineering education institutions in the world.
Earlier this year, seniors studying engineering participated in a BYU Capstone Project that embodies the school’s mission. This project focused on providing much-needed aid to thousands of amputees that survived the gruesome 12-year civil war in the African nation of Sierra Leone. Because the rebels cut off their appendages at random, standard prosthetics do not fit these victims, so most of them continue to struggle to complete daily activities, with little hope of a better future.
Enter BYU engineering students. In conjunction with the humanitarian organization Engage Now Africa (ENA), these students designed a socket that allows above-knee amputees to finally use prosthetics from the International Red Cross. Taking into account the extreme poverty of the victims, the students worked hard to create a design that amputees could afford. Using common materials such as polypropylene and aluminum, along with a few well-placed nuts and bolts, they created a model that the victims could purchase locally for around $40. Currently, the students are working with ENA to make final adjustments to the socket, and they estimate that the sockets will be in use within the next six months.
This project represents just one of the hundreds of ways in which students at the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology can make a positive impact on the world both during and after their BYU experience. Whether they intend to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation, or pursue a master’s or doctorate degree, the college will provide them with every opportunity needed for success.
Carson Perry is a member of the communications team at the BYU Ira A. Fulton College.