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News @ ODU

Dean's Corner

Oktay Baysal

When the College's Advisory Board Communications & Development Committee was deciding on a fund for which our Second Annual Distinguished Honors Celebration should benefit, there was no question: student projects.

In a job market which not only applauds but also gives further consideration to those university graduates with hands-on experience, our engineering and engineering technology students are flocking to student project teams to demonstrate their acumen. This was no more evident than the students participating in the 2011 Solar Decathlon competition, putting in sometimes 20-hour days on the work site to get their net-zero home ready for competition.

But that competition is not the only student project group teeming with passionate members. The College can boast various student projects such as the ASCE Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Competition, the SAE Mini-Baja and Formula car competitions, as well as participation in the College's Engineers Week activities which culminates in the Engineering Open House and design competitions. There is an ACS Construction Bid Team and an Autonomous Surface Vehicle Team. On the more entertaining side, students routinely enter the Duct Tape Regatta and the Can-struction Design teams displaying both their imagination and resourcefulness.

The rewards these teams receive from participating in various competitions extend beyond the prizes they collect for their entries. Students in project teams practice entrepreneurship, teamwork, and leadership skills. These students also learn some of the fundamentals of the business and organizational realms in analyzing problems, leveraging resources, and potentially seeking commercial opportunities within their work. They become more engaged and extend their learning experience outside of the classroom. In these ways, students are becoming the seekers of their own success and future worth. It is for these reasons and more that the College wishes to support the curious and creative minds of our students.

I am proud of the atmosphere of open inquiry and exploration maintained at our College, aided in great part by said student project teams. And I am gladdened by the decision to further support these students and their endeavors through our College's flagship event of the year, the Distinguished Honors Celebration. If you would like to join in this support of our students, read on in this issue of e-Interaction for sponsorship details.