Over the course of a senior design project, students face many ups and downs. This podcast, produced by the UConn School of Engineering, dives into the journey, the group dynamics, and the emotions experienced during this year-long project.
Every year, nearly 100 sponsors work with hundreds of UConn Engineering seniors on real-world engineering problems for their Senior Design project. By participating, organizations get real-world engineering problem-solving at a fraction of the price, backed by expert faculty advisors; face-to-face access with a talented pool of engineering undergraduates on the verge of entering the workforce; and most importantly, gain the ability to mentor the next generation of engineering leaders.
By: Eli Freund, Editorial Communications Manager, UConn School of Engineering
In a coalition of schools led by the University of Maine, the University of Connecticut School of Engineering will be a participant in the Region 1 University Transportation Center: Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center (TIDC), funded by a five-year $14.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
According to a release from the University of Maine, the TIDC will aim to help save taxpayer dollars by extending the life of our transportation assets, including bridges, roads and rail, and in addition to partnering with UConn, the Maine-led TIDC will also partner with the University of Rhode Island, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the University of Vermont, and Western New England University.
Additional partners include representatives from the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT), Vermont Agency of Transportation, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Transportation and Development Institute.
Working with state DOTs, the new TIDC will seek to identify new materials and technologies that maximize the impact of transportation infrastructure investments. The center will work along four pathways: 1. develop improved road and bridge monitoring and assessment tools; 2. develop better ways to strengthen existing bridges to extend their life; 3. use new materials and systems to build longer-lasting new bridges and accelerate construction; and 4. use new connectivity tools to enhance asset and performance management while promoting workforce development, the release said.
TIDC will harness the experience of 28 faculty researchers, including a team of five engineering faculty members from UConn, led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Professor Ramesh B. Malla, and will train 280 student researchers from all New England states. It will focus on real infrastructure needs identified by DOT partners, and prioritize extending the life of existing transportation assets to ensure cost-effectiveness.
For more information on the center, click here to read the release from the University of Maine.
After graduating with an electrical engineering degree from UConn in 1993, Judge Jean R. Homere discovered by happenstance the field of patent law – a field that he believes to be largely unknown among engineering students across the country, despite the many exceptional opportunities it stands to offer them.
Currently an Administrative Patent Judge at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Judge Homere has steadfastly worked his way up the corporate ladder for the past 17 years. He was hired by a UConn alumnus in 1994 to work at the USPTO as a Patent Examiner, reviewing patent applications to determine whether claimed inventions should be granted a patent. Simultaneously, he was pursuing his graduate studies at various universities in the Washington, DC area. By 2003, Judge Homere had acquired his law degree from George Mason University and transitioned to new role as a Supervisory Patent Examiner managing technology units of 15 Patent Examiners. Next, he became a Legal Advisor at the USPTO’s office of patent legal administration, providing legal assistance to USPTO personnel regarding various matters pertaining to patent law. Presently, Judge Homere hears appeals pertaining to adverse decisions of Patent Examiners on patent applications in electrical, computing, and business methods disciplines.
The USPTO hires anywhere from 1,000-1,200 engineers each year, and serves as an excellent outlet for like-minded individuals. According to Judge Homere, all engineering students should be made aware of this type of career opportunity. They should not have to “stumble into it” serendipitously.
“As an undergraduate, I had no idea that engineering could be intertwined with law in this fashion to open so many doors. I only hope that engineering schools across the country become more aware of this, and strive to do a better job at disseminating these types of career opportunities to their engineering students,” said Judge Homere. “Patent Law can be a very rewarding career path. It offers a viable alternative to engineering students who are not particularly enthused with the idea of working in traditional engineering settings,” said Judge Homere. “This is exactly the career path that I always wanted to pursue. I am sure many engineering students would give serious considerations to this field if they knew about it. ”
Although his current success can be attributed to years of hard work and education, Judge Homere still reflects upon his choice of majors, and the decision to come to UConn, as among the best decisions he could have made. “[UConn] truly was a great experience overall,” he said. “The engineering program was excellent, and my advisors, Professors Charles Knapp and Rajeev Bansal, helped me along every step of the way. UConn provided me with a well-rounded education, and I owe a lot of my success to that program.”
In between earning his BSE degree at UConn and his JD degree from George Mason University in 2003, Judge Homere also earned an M.S. in Information Systems from George Washington University in 1997 and a Master of Legal Administration degree from Marymount University School of Business three years later. He is a member of the DC Bar and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.