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Immersing. Engaging. Engineering. In China


PUBLISHED: April 30, 2014

Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Summer Program in China

This summer the third class of engineering students will be participating in the Summer Engineering Program in China, a study abroad-internship opportunity. Like the other students before them they will spend seven weeks working closely with students at Tsinghua University in Beijing on a real-world design issue supplied by a multinational U.S. corporation.  Here’s what two of the students from the second class shared about their experience:

Mechanical engineering junior Jack Keller had already been to Europe, studying German, but he had not participated in a study-internship program quite like this. He and Ted Wagner were paired with two Tsinghua University students on a project for the Timken Company — designing a new method and device to consistently measure ribbed cylindrical roller bearings. One of the largest producers of precision bearings, Timken was not able to guarantee the consistency of this type of bearing.

“It really wasn’t a typical study-abroad experience,” Keller said. “We were working and acting as an independent team, for our project and our travel and entertainment.” Relying on his Notre Dame training and his teammates, Keller found that the best solution was a combination of ideas from the team, looking at the issues from a variety of perspectives.

For Jacob Hook, a senior aerospace engineering student, this was basically his first trip outside the United States. He and his teammates, three Chinese students, were tasked by Johnson Controls to reduce the weight of a car seat (an actual seat, not a baby carrier) by at least 20 percent while still maintaining safety standards. The team managed to reduce the weight of a seat by 32 percent, but at a higher cost than the current method. Hook considers the project, and the program a good experience: “I got a lot more insight into some of the more specialized applications of the classes I had been taking,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to do something unique and improve both my technical and cultural knowledge.”

For more information about the Summer China Program, contact Associate Professor Bill Goodwine  or visit http://controls.ame.nd.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Engineering_China_Summer_Program.