116 Engineering Service Learning students at the University of California, Merced have showcased their projects for admitted freshmen, interested transfer applicants, and community members at Bobcat Day on Saturday, April 21. In these projects, students use their combined technical skills to provide real-world solutions tailored to their nonprofit community partner organization’s needs. Each of the ten ongoing projects is run by a dedicated team who design and test prototypes before finally delivering the product to end-users.
During this event, visitors tested displayed prototypes themselves for each project. Engineering Service Learning students opened up to any feedback or questions given by members of the community in order to improve their products. “It’s great that you’re building this app since understanding English medical terms can be hard if it isn’t your first language,” said prospective first-year Biology major regarding the Project Protect team. “I think it’s cool that you make the app easy and simple for older audiences.”
Each semester, Engineering Service Learning students commit to serve their nonprofit community partner clients by contributing over 7,850 community service hours. These same students gain professional hands-on experience as they undergo enterprises like building an Aerospace Exhibit for the traveling museum, or identifying disease in grapes. “I want this project to succeed so children can interact and better understand our solar system,” commented incoming transfer student Jazmin on the Merced Children’s Museum prototype. “Interactive learning is the best method in education.”
In addition to testing their products, Engineering Service Learning teams use Bobcat Day as a chance to recruit students interested in designing solutions for our community. Students in the course undergo experiential learning that cannot be obtained in other classes. “There is no other course that can offer so many different experiences to our students,” states Chris Butler, Assistant Director of Engineering Service Learning.
Interested students and their families are introduced to the progress made by student teams invested in professional development and philanthropy. Bobcat Day participants have fun with showcased prototypes and learning about the positive impact Engineering Service Learning leaves on the local community.