The Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) school year has just begun but, for some of us on Team UV, the end of our undergraduate career is quickly approaching. I recently enrolled in my last quarter and it feels amazing to almost be done after such a long journey. I also want to note that no one is more excited about this than my parents and girlfriend! For this week’s Open Mind, we were given a reflective prompt regarding which class we would say is the most vital in an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering career and which class we personally enjoyed the most.
In case you didn’t know, Mechanical Engineering curriculum covers many different sciences and engineering fields. In a very short and summarized fashion, CPP mechanical engineering students receive education in mechanical/machine design, electrical engineering, thermal fluids, material and structural analysis, coding, and the control of all these subjects when used together. The real list of classes is a mile long but I’m sure you get the picture: CPP Mechanicals are versatile!
Choosing one class out of more than 198 units and deeming it THE MOST IMPORTANT CLASS YOU WILL EVER TAKE is difficult because, for me, it has to be all encompassing. The first class that satisfies this condition would have to be ME 325/L Machine Design/Lab. The goal of this class is to instill students with the ability to design sound mechanical components. Topics covered in this class include the design and analysis of: brakes, clutches, gears, belt systems, and power-transmitting shafts, to name just a few subjects. In order to safely and effectively perform such designs, one would need background knowledge of, at the absolute least, stress analysis, material selection, classical mechanics, and something very unique. That special something is engineering intuition or in other words, the ability to make decisions without the help of a book or equation. Sometimes engineers don’t have all the information necessary to make a design happen but they can make an educated assumption and check on that assumption later on. ME 325 is one of the only classes that gives students the opportunity to build their intuition and see how it effects the outcome of their design. The ability to make solid design decisions and think creatively is invaluable to their education and is very desirable in industry. An added bonus of this class is at least one design, build, and run project. Here students can utilize other fields of engineering such as electrical and electronics engineering and thermal fluids to complete a given task. For example, Team UV used our knowledge of fluid mechanics, electronics, classical mechanics, and materials engineering to develop a propulsion system (SHEILA-D!) as our final project.
Since I only have one ME class left I can safely name my favorite undergraduate class: ME 439 Control of Mechanical Systems. I am currently taking this class but it has quickly turned into the most exciting part of my week. I have really taken an interest in robotics and micro-controlling as shown in my Learning Arduino posts and my preparation this summer has really helped me out. Students in this class utilize their knowledge of system modeling and response to help control mechanical systems. Our in-class projects heavily rely on Arduino usage and the use of really cool electronics such as ultrasonic sensors (to determine distance) and motors (for actuation). Keep an eye out for these new projects as they are completed in my Learning Arduino series!
So there you have it! I’m sure that the other members of Team UV have different opinions on which classes are the most important so check back for their posts! Till next time…