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Students Improve the Quality of Labs for UC Merced

April 22, 2016

Adrian Toscano
Technical Writing Assistant

A team of Engineering Service Learning students has delivered a more satisfying educational experience for future materials science students through a semester-long project.

The Instructional Lab 1 Engineering Service Learning Team (IL 1) was tasked with upgrading the lab experience by making materials science labs more immersive and improving the manuals needed to successfully complete experiments.

“I’m glad I can help future engineering students right now,” said team member Kyle Lindbergh.

The team had two jobs: One was to rework the MATLAB and tensile testing lab manuals for the Strength of Materials course (ENGR 151) that many students had found confusing. The other was to include a computational component to both labs.

While changing the wording of the lab manuals to make them simpler to understand, the team also added an introduction that explains the labs to students.

IL 1 added a discussions section in both labs, in which students must answer questions using the information they learned in the labs.

Team members said leaving a lasting mark at UC Merced drove their work.   

“I’m inspired by making a difference in UC Merced,” team Communications Officer Zachary Clemens said. “It’s a community I am part of and I am happy to help.”

Refining the labs gave team members a chance to refine skills of their own. They had to practice using MATLAB and Excel software to develop a successful lab for future ENGR 151 students, and learned to use PASCO software to record data that came from the test runs of the labs.

“By working on this project, I got better hands-on experience with MATLAB while helping the community,” team member Ashley St. Marie said.

Team Webmaster Misha Garg saw the project as an opportunity to help fellow UC Merced students.

Student development is the main goal of UC Merced’s Engineering Service Learning course.

Since 2004, Engineering Service Learning has been connecting students with nonprofit organizations to solve engineering design problems the organizations face.

Students from different majors work together to solve real-world dilemmas while developing professional, technical and leadership skills.

IL 1 completed its project Dec. 9, 2015.

To learn more about the team and past teams, visit: