Plexus Interdisciplinary Engineering Design

Through a partnership with Plexus Corporation, the Grainger Design + Innovation Labs are advancing the development of interdisciplinary academic pathways for Engineering students at early, intermediate, and Capstone levels.

These Interdisciplinary Programs, are meant to provide engineering students with opportunities at all stages of their academic careers to work collaboratively across disciplines outside their major.

Summary of the programs being supported or created:

  • High School (pre-engineering): Engineering Summer Program (ESP) is a rigorous academic enrichment summer program designed to introduce engineering concepts to and encourage high achieving high school students historically underrepresented in engineering (e.g. first generation, low-income, students from diverse communities, and women) to explore engineering. Approximately 100 high school students each year use the Makerspace through ESP to strengthen their STEM skills and collaborate with others.
  • First-year: Inter-EGR-170 is an introductory design class covering the invention, fabrication and testing of a device that solves a problem proposed by a real world client. Information retrieval techniques, specification writing, methods for enhancing creativity, analysis techniques, scheduling, selection methodologies, cost estimating, sustainability in design, shop safety, engineering ethics, opportunities for engineering students (ie, study abroad, internships, co-ops), major exploration, fabrication equipment and techniques, and oral and written communication learning takes place on the first floor of the Makerspace. 
  • Senior Capstone: The Senior Capstone projects facilitate collaboration between engineering students from multiple departments on interdisciplinary projects as part of their capstone courses. These interdisciplinary projects are housed on the first floor of the Makerspace.
  • Graduate Students: Our Fab Fellows program employs grad students in a related field (such as engineering, art, industrial design), to help run the Design + Innovation Labs. These students provide instructional support, machine maintenance, undergraduate mentorship, and much more throughout their 1-2 year appointment.

"It’s important that students are given the opportunity to develop interdisciplinary competencies prior to beginning their career."

In creating and supporting these design-focused programs utilizing the resources of  UW Makerspace, students work and learn in a collaborative, hands-on environment, with access to facilities including 40,000 ft2 of shop and flex space.