Engineering senior capstone project taught by Professor Sharon Jones is a partnership with the city’s planning department
Students in this year’s engineering studies senior capstone course got a taste of what it takes to manage a public works project. In partnership with the City of Easton’s Planning Department, the class of 21 engineering majors developed a conceptual design of waterfront improvements and a bicycle/pedestrian trail across the Third Street Bridge between Scott Park and the south side of the Lehigh River.
The students’ goals were to improve connectivity, make the pathways safer, and make use of the waterfront vistas as much as possible. “The city wanted them to think big and envision a grand plan for the area,” says Sharon Jones, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the engineering division.
The intent of the capstone course is for students to draw on the knowledge they have gained from other classes in order to solve a large, open-ended problem. “For the engineering studies students, a key part of this is to consider the societal impact of their solution alternatives. The students organized themselves, selected leaders, developed a schedule to complete the project, and made all of the key decisions on what to research, who to talk with, and how to present the information,” Jones says.
Patrick M. Kelley ’09 (Jefferson, Mass.), a civil engineering major, says the project gave him a new appreciation of the hurdles that city planners face, from addressing concerns of legislators and residents, to dozens of other factors. “I learned how much needs to go into a city project. You have to account for economic factors, social factors, environmental factors — the list goes on and on.”
Kelley is planning to work for an engineering construction firm next year and thinks that this capstone experience will prove valuable as he enters the workforce. “In this class, I’ve certainly learned a lot about engineering and management that will be helpful at this job and in my future career.”
Daisy L Zuccardi ’09 (Freemansburg, Pa.), an engineering studies major, says that the course helped her to learn discipline. “Every week we had a deliverable product and every week it was getting better and better. There were many hours invested and at the end when the project was presented, it was a nice feeling of ‘well done,’” she says.
Jones also stresses the real-world skills the students learn through community partnership. “They have to get out of their textbooks and really learn about the community they have spent four years in, and the people who make up that community. I hope the students learn that as engineers the key to effective problem solving is to first really understand the problems and the people who are affected,” Jones says.
Other students in the course are Michael Atamanchuk ’09 (Martinsville, N.J.), an engineering studies major; Brandon Beidel ’09 (Newburg, Pa.), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business; William Cheyney ’09 (Buffalo, N.Y.), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business; Catrina Cosey ’09 (Felton, Del.), an engineering studies major; Brian Cronise ’09 (Liverpool, N.Y.), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business; Eric Cusano ’09 (Lebanon, Conn.), a double major in engineering studies and international economics and commerce; George Dinkov ’09 (West Des Moines, Iowa), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business; Nicholas Ferenchak ’10 (Catasauqua, Pa.), an engineering studies major; Rachel Ferretti ’09 (Easton, Pa.), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business; Amar Gujr ’09 (Croton On Hudson, N.Y.), an engineering studies major; Ng’ang’a Muchiri ’09 (Nairobi, Kenya), who is pursuing a B.S. in chemical engineering and an A.B. in English; Steven Nastro ’09 (Wantagh, N.Y.), an engineering studies major; Marcella Nehrbass ’09 (Ringoes, N.J.), an engineering studies major; Patrick O’Dell ’09 (Newtown, Conn.), an engineering studies major; Michael Marin ’09 (Branchville, N.J.), a civil engineering major; Andrew Rosenbush ’09 (Simsbury, Conn.), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business; Nicholas Stowe ’09 (Tacoma, Wash.), an engineering studies major; William Warner ’09 (Millersville, Mass.), an engineering studies major; and Zachary Zamore ’09 (West Redding, Conn.), a double major in engineering studies and economics & business.