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Capstone Impact Challenge

The core curricular component of the program, the Capstone Impact Challenge provides you with the unique opportunity to experience the multi-facets of engineering, from civil to mechanical to electrical to chemical, while working toward solving some of the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations.

During the challenge, you will be assigned one of five countries; learn about the challenges and constraints your country faces with respect to obtaining clean water, general infrastructure, and sustainability; and work in your group to solve for these pressing issues.

After implementing all phases of the design thinking process to construct, test, and finalize your prototype, the challenge culminates with a competition round, where each group will present their completed prototype. As part of the competition:

  • One winning group from each country will be selected based on the viability of their proposal
  • The winning proposals will be shared with the Water Authority of their respective countries
  • One overall winning group will also be selected and receive reviews and feedback on their proposals from a team of engineers from Villanova University

The curriculum for this dynamic and meaningful challenge was designed in collaboration with a team lead by Dr. David Dinehart, a Professor and Former Chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. In addition, instructional design for facilitating the Impact Challenge have been created by esteemed faculty members of Villanova University’s College of Engineering, to ensure a robust, true-to-life experience and college-level learning environment for all students.


Maker Centers

One of the most exciting components of the program, the Maker Centers allow you to shape your experience. After gaining broad exposure to all four fields offered, you can select your two favorite fields and receive a more in-depth experience.

Based on your field selection, you will apply design thinking and other key engineering concepts to complete two of the following challenges:

  • Aerospace: Design and scale test a wing spar for an experimental jet aircraft capable of supporting the lift and drag loads experienced during flight.
  • Biomedical: Design and create a lower leg prosthesis that limits deflection using end point loading and simulates actual movement.
  • Civil: Design and prototype, at a reduced scale, a support structure for an observation walkway capable of safely reaching out 30 feet from the Grand Canyon.
  • Mechanical: Design and scale test a race car drive shaft capable of transmitting extreme horsepower with minimal loss of power.

In addition to getting a glimpse of your future career, these challenges will also help you develop and enhance key success skills, like collaboration, communication, creativity, and problem solving.


Speaking Engagements

Hear from academic faculty and professional leaders in various engineering and technology disciplines during the keynote address and Hot Topics in Engineering Seminars. These subject matter experts will provide insight into the importance of design, recent innovations in engineering and technology, and the keys to a successful future career in these fields. In addition, you will have the opportunity interact and network with industry professionals during the Afternoon with the Experts panel and networking event.

Past participating speakers include:

  • Dr. John Cressler, Schlumberger Chair Professor in Electronics, Georgia Tech
  • Dr. Gary S. May, Dean, College of Engineering, Georgia Tech
  • Anna Dietrich, Co-Founder, Terrafugia
  • Dr. Douglas A. Lauffenburger, Head, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT
  • Dr. Tak-Sing Wong, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Penn State University
  • Kevin Surace, CEO, Appvance
  • Dr. Martin Buehler, Chief Robotist & Research Principle Investigator, iRobot
  • Dr. Steve S. Holt, Professor of Physics, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • Dr. Ayanna Howard, Associate Director of Research, Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines Motorola Foundation Professor
  • Dr. James Wade, Vice President of Mission Assurance, Raytheon
  • Dr. James D. Plummer, Dean, School of Engineering, Stanford University
  • Dr. Cherry A. Murray, Dean, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Harvard University
  • Dr. Carol Livermore, Assistant Professor of Manufacturing, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team

Helicopter Electronics Workshop

Apply electronics concepts to program a microcontroller to independently fly a model helicopter in this activity developed by Andrew Barry, Ph.D., a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) grad and Founder of Stage One Education.

“The helicopter workshop manages to pack the best parts of robotics -- circuits, programming, and autonomous control -- into an amazingly fun package.”

-Andrew Barry, Ph.D.        

Search #heliworkshop in Instagram or click here to see what previous program attendees were able to accomplish during this educational and entertaining workshop.