Monday, June 13, 2011

Thoughts on the Final Presentation

Last Thursday, the 2011 EDD class gave a series of presentations of the year’s work to a panel of local engineers. I attended this event to get a better understanding of the class, as well as to see what is in store for me next year.

Overall, I thought the presentations were very professional. All three groups were clear in their explanations of their individual design processes from idea to finished product, and they answered most of the panel’s questions without a hitch. I especially enjoyed the demonstration of the ICCI, as well as viewing the multitude of prototypes for the dehumidifier. It was a shame that the golf cart mister’s demonstration did not work, but I got a good enough idea of how the product functioned from the presentation. I do have a few criticisms; namely that the mister group’s presentation may have gotten a bit long-winded in describing all the challenges they faced in the design process instead of focusing on the product itself, and that the dehumidifier group didn’t seem to know how their product actually worked when asked about the store-bought dehumidifier inside.

It is not my job to criticize the groups or to shower them with complements however. What I took away from the experience was that this class seems to provide a reasonably realistic picture of a career in engineering. The EDD program provides students with a chance to identify a real world problem and to go through all the steps of solving it, including the actual engineering work, but also fund raising, gathering feedback from the community, and presenting finished products to potential buyers or investors. I was disappointed that students didn’t seem to have enough time in the year to finalize and market their designs, but I suppose that’s inevitable given the short school year and the substantial amount of work that goes in to realizing even a simple idea.

In the end, this series of presentations gave me a great look at what next year will be like. After seeing the specific types of work that an EDD class does, as well as the challenges they face along the way, I can only come to one conclusion: I couldn’t be more excited for the coming year.