Take a peek inside an MIT class with the feel and vibe of a hardware startup. The creativity, deadlines, teamwork, and passion are all here — and very real. Undergraduate students experience the thrill of the test run, the sobering return to the drawing board, and finally that hard-earned moment: the breakthrough.
“Students are developing pride in their work,” says Doug Hart, a mechanical engineering professor and architect of 2.013/2.014 (Engineering System Design/Development), a capstone class sponsored by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, in which students focus on the design of a complex engineering system, such as an aluminum-fueled vehicle.
“They are developing passion. They’re experiencing what it’s like to work on something very hard, want it very badly, and succeed,” he says. “You have to feel it for the first time to understand what you’re searching for. I think they find that in this class.”
In that sense, the course could be a poster child for Engineers Week. Celebrated this week (February 19-25), the nationwide campaign promotes “recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy, and motivates youth, to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce."