UMD Engineering Freshmen To Get Jump Start

One hundred freshman who will enter the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this September are going to get a taste of college life this summer.

One hundred freshman who will enter the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this September are going to get a taste of college life this summer. The UMD Engineering Freshman Summer Institute from August 4-9 is intended to help them cross the bridge from a high school environment to a university setting and strengthen their prospects for success in what is generally considered a challenging academic discipline. 

The Engineering College at UMass Dartmouth is preparing to admit 275 new majors, its largest entering class ever. These are distributed among Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Textile Chemistry and Textile Sciences. 

Dr. Ronald D. DiPippo, associate dean of the college, said freshmen often have difficulty coping with the rigors of an engineering curriculum. “Many have a hard time making the transition from high school to college instruction, and many don’t really have a good sense of what an engineer does,” he said. The Institute will address both of these issues 

The Engineering Freshman Summer Institute is a residential program, which will give students a chance to experience dorm life and make new friends, as well as work intensively with engineering faculty and meet professional engineers from industry. Many of the faculty and staff in the College of Engineering are participating. 

The students will learn skills in teamwork, problem-solving, time management, and test-taking. They will also tackle engineering problems using the mathematics they have learned in high school. Students will work in small groups under the supervision of a faculty member with the help of student assistants in a project appropriate to their discipline. The students will present their finished project to their peers during a poster session at the close of the Institute. Additionally, in after-dinner talks they will get to hear from industry speakers, most of whom are graduates of UMD, and will visit local engineering companies. 

DiPippo said a generous grant from the Raytheon has kept the cost to students at a nominal $100 each. He said they received more applications, but space was limited to a first-come-first-served basis since the university is still constructing its new residence halls. Next year he hopes the College of Engineering will be able to expand the program to accommodate more students. 

The companies that are cooperating in the Institute include: General Electric, Raytheon, The Acushnet Company - Titleist-Footjoy Worldwide, Genzyme Surgical Products, Alberox, MathWorks, Fidelity Investments, Camp, Dresser & McKee, and Griffin Manufacturing Company.


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