Engineering Students Take to Kit Building

John and RyanRyan Miller (L) and Chris Dougherty (R) testing their project

Even engineering students are challenged in today's economy to find their first job. In an environment where every advantage counts, what if an educational program could provide work experience to students as part of their program...?

This is exactly what John Silzel had in mind when he married the idea of an In-House Product Development Engineering Internship with Jameco's Build-Your-Own-Kit program.

"This is a great opportunity for my students to practice a ‘real’ project. It's my goal to hold them to a high standard of professional work and hopefully provide a solid kit," said Silzel, Professor of Chemistry at Biola University. "Club Jameco's rules for the kit projects provided a great real-life opportunity for my students, in that they must engineer a solution not only for the kit buyer, but for Jameco as well, and do it on a timeline and budget. Already I have seen them take up the challenge and develop a customer-focused design perspective with a sincere desire to deliver a quality kit."

According to the course syllabus, Silzel says, many of the most important skills and experiences acquired by science and engineering interns are related to learning industry practices, regulatory compliance, and design and documentation skills that are used by professionals in the field. Fortunately, these skills may be practiced with significant rigor within the scope of small, applied projects presenting either minimal cost to Biola, or no costs at all if backing from small businesses can be obtained.

Enter Jameco

"Jameco's timing was perfect for this first-time effort to leverage my product development experience from a previous career into an in-house summer internship", said Silzel. "The key goal is rigorous practice of industrial procedures to immerse the students in industry practices to the greatest extent possible." The In-House Internship launch includes two upper division engineering students. Chris Dougherty and Ryan Miller are juniors majoring in Engineering Physics.
Biole Electronic ProjectElectronic project under development

Biola UniversityBiola University

Dougherty and Miller will design an electronic kit for a musical instrument effect pedal, a product that is relatively simple but holds wide interest to Biola students and Jameco customers. They will utilize design and development quality processes patterned closely after the international ISO-9000 quality management standards found in professional product engineering. The project will include elements of business requirement documentation, prototype design using computer simulation, validation testing, development of printed circuit art, schematics, assembly instructions, troubleshooting, product art, and other deliverables that will expose the students to technical writing, manufacturing engineering, and many other disciplines they may not previously have been aware of.

By the end of summer Silzels' students will have experienced a "light" version of what it's like to develop real products in a Fortune 500 company. John Silzel has been part of the full-time faculty at Biola University, located in La Mirada, California, for five years.

Learn more about Jameco's educational programs!
Biola University is a private, Christian university located in Southern California. Founded in 1908 the university has more than 145 academic programs through its six schools. Biola offers 37 undergraduate majors, as well as master's, doctoral, and professional degrees.

Biola University: