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SIUE School of Engineering Student Design Center enhances applied learning

Sep 12, 2017 11:06 AM | comments
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EDWARDSVILLE - The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering’s (SOE) new, partially finished, Student Design Center is offering students an expansive applied learning environment and enhancing their work on special projects. The two-story, 14,000-square-foot facility is attached to the existing Engineering Building.

“As the fall semester has begun, it’s been exciting to see students already utilizing this impressive workspace as they work on an array of special projects and prepare for another year of academic competitions,” said Brent Vaughn, PE, laboratory specialist and lecturer in the SOE, who is overseeing operations at the Student Design Center. “The space will also be used for capstone senior design projects that require design, fabrication and assembly.”

“The School of Engineering Student Design Center is incredible,” said Triston Cooper, a senior electrical engineering student and project director of the SIUE Solar Car Team. “It is one of the most exciting things that I’ve seen so far during my time at SIUE.”

Among the student organizations benefiting from the Student Design Center are SIUE Solar Car, Cougar Baja, Formula SIUE and IEEE Robotics, as well as the Steel Bridge, Concrete Canoe and GeoWall Teams.

“Before we had the Student Design Center, our solar car team had to scramble around the Engineering Building to find space,” Cooper added. “Our whole project is about designing, building and racing solar cars, solely on our own. We already appreciate the openness of this new work space and the access we now have to tools. It’s also helping with our recruitment efforts, since people can see us at work!”

“In previous years, we had a little shop set up on the other side of campus,” added Seth Kirchner, a senior mechanical engineering student and president of the SIUE Cougar Baja team. “It made it difficult, because we didn’t have all of the supplies we needed for the team to be successful. Now, we will be able to use the machine shop in the back side of the new addition, and share shop space where we can build our cars from scratch.”

Most of the $5.7 million needed for this project has been secured resulting in the completion of Phase 1 of construction. The SOE still needs $1.3 million to fund the construction of Phase 2, which will include additional design labs, offices and meeting space on the building’s second floor.

The SOE Student Design Center will be featured during the SIUE Day Community Breakfast being held from 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12.

“We are excited to showcase this impressive facility during the SIUE Day Community Breakfast,” said SOE Director of Development Chandler Vandenberg. “We look forward to sharing our appreciation for the donors who have made this space possible thus far, and hope to facilitate new partnerships with businesses and individuals to help support our robust engineering programs and facilities.”

For more information, visit To learn more about partnership opportunities with the SOE, contact Vandenberg at or 618-650-5020.

The SIUE School of Engineering offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable engineering programs in the St. Louis region with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs, all housed in a state-of-the-art facility. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research, and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. All undergraduate programs are accredited by their respective accreditation agencies.

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