Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation Secondary Navigation

The cycle of learning: students teach students in senior design project thanks to 1804 Fund

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Oct 30, 2017
Senior mechanical engineering students pose in front of their current project. Photo by Ashley Stottlemyer
The team (L to R): James Irwin, Ellen Baranack, Kyle Wampler and Kenneth Rosario.

The cycle of learning: students teach students in senior design project thanks to 1804 Fund

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Oct 30, 2017
The team (L to R): James Irwin, Ellen Baranack, Kyle Wampler and Kenneth Rosario.
The team (L to R): James Irwin, Ellen Baranack, Kyle Wampler and Kenneth Rosario.

Ohio University’s 1804 Fund provides grants to further OHIO’s ability to produce in-house research. Awarded to both undergraduate and graduate research proposals by the Ohio University Foundation, grants are active for two years. Thus far, the foundation has awarded more than $383,000 to fund research for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The 1804 Fund is made possible through an endowment from C. Paul Stocker, BSEE ’26. Since 1980, the fund has made awards of more than $15 million.

With a boost from Ohio University’s 1804 Fund, a senior design project is showcasing just how students can create a reciprocal learning cycle, as upperclassmen in the mechanical engineering Designing to Make a Difference capstone course are creating hands-on classroom instruments for underclassmen in the program’s strength of materials course.

A team of upperclassmen – seniors Ellen Baranack, James Irwin, Kenneth Rosario and Kyle Wampler – are developing small, portable desktop lab instruments that can demonstrate the strength of materials course principles.

Mechanical Engineering Department Chair and Robe Professor Greg Kremer, creator and instructor of the capstone course, is working directly with students to implement the vision of Paul Golter, lecturer of mechanical engineering and the grant’s principal investigator, and his collaborator, Todd Fantz, lecturer of engineering and technology fundamentals.

“The driving force behind these benchtop units and getting hands on equipment is that we have research that shows how students can address certain misconceptions and enhance their understanding of difficult topics by being able to do something where they are the main actors, rather than someone else,” Kremer said.

Kremer said that when students providing their perspectives in the development process, the end result is a better fit for future students’ needs. It’s a reciprocal process of students teaching students, in which both groups are giving each other valuable lessons.

“We’re trying to help the student learning process and also encourage them to talk to other students,” Kremer said. “Having had the experience of going through the class themselves, and later on applying lessons learned in the class -- they’ll now design a strength of materials testing unit themselves, to help other students learn course concepts. It’s a neat cycle of learning.”