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Momentum building as BW engineering major soars in growth

A record-setting 27 first-year students chose BW engineering for their major, a nod to the rigor and real-world focus that makes the ABET-accredited degree program a standout for success.

In spring 2023, engineering students in a capstone class built the prototype of a sit-to-stand walker.
Second-year engineering students working on a mechanics laboratory experiment.

From its early days under the leadership of Dr. Helen Muga, who helped shape the engineering major under the umbrella area of physics, to its current chair, Dr. Jennifer Kadlowec, the program has gained momentum and accolades – the latest being accreditation by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) that BW achieved on its initial application review once becoming eligible last year.

“The accreditation solidifies what we’ve known all along – that BW’s engineering major excels in preparing students for professional life after graduation,” said Kadlowec. “Faculty mentoring, real-world projects and rigorous academics are central to the program and student success. Students gain a general foundation of engineering that enables them to explore potential professional pathways and areas of interest early in their studies. They can then complement this foundation with coursework in other disciplines as a way to customize their studies.

“Likewise, BW’s engineering major enables graduates to easily pivot later in their careers to other areas of focus because they have a comprehensive understanding of engineering that can be helpful across all areas,” she noted. “When you complement that with BW’s liberal arts-focused curriculum – rich in building skills in communication, teamwork and problem-solving – students graduate ready to be practitioners as well as future managers.”

Engineering Major Focused in Faculty-Student Collaboration

Meguerditchian at Ryan Homes construction site

Kadlowec went on to say that while BW engineering students graduate career-ready, some individuals opt for graduate school to enhance their Baldwin Wallace engineering degree. Such is the case with Jivan Aram Meguerditchian ’22 of Avon Lake, Ohio.

Meguerditchian is a project manager for Ryan Homes and oversees the construction of homes for an entire community.

At night, he assumes a student role in attending Case Western Reserve University to earn an M.S. degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on biomechanical engineering.

He hopes to one day take his knowledge of biomechanical engineering and use it to develop prosthetics and other special equipment for people in need, especially veterans, both domestically and overseas in his ethnic homeland of Armenia.

“BW was a new program that had the proximity and capability to connect me with numerous businesses and corporations in the Greater Cleveland area,” remarked Meguerditchian. “The projects we did in the program were hands-on and aided in growing my creativity and problem-solving abilities. In a world where this seems to be diminishing, these abilities are crucial for career advancement.”

Shelley at Swagelok Company

Also a proud graduate of the Baldwin Wallace engineering program is Dominic Shelley ’22, who is currently in the career development program with Swagelok Company.

In his current role as a manufacturing project engineer, he manages capital equipment purchases for one of the firm’s manufacturing centers. He secured the job in his senior year at BW.

“BW is a place where you can really learn what you like about engineering and take classes tailored to your interests,” believes the Mentor, Ohio, resident. “Class sizes are small, which allows you to have good relationships with your professors. Those relationships allow for classes to seem more conversational, which provides a better learning environment.”

Expanding Engineering in Students and Scope

Engineering lab technician Martin Flores and a student use the CNC mill in BW’s Fabrication Laboratory.

Kadlowec sees the program expanding both in number of students and in scope. Among additions she foresees happening are specialty tracks that will provide curricular pathways for students to pursue areas of interest like mechanical engineering, manufacturing, civil engineering and electrical engineering, among others. She also hopes to increase interdisciplinary collaborations with other disciplines, including business, social sciences and humanities, and the arts.

Last year, faculty and students did a year-long engineering capstone project with the department of communication sciences and disorders and adult clients in the BW Speech Clinic to develop a prototype for a new sit-to-stand walker.

Another collaboration united engineering with psychology, neuroscience and pre-allied health/pre-physical therapy for a research study that examined the physical and cognitive effects of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

“Engineering is an in-demand STEM profession that touches upon all areas of society. It is an exciting and growing field where logic and creativity meld to create innovative opportunities. It provides a rewarding and successful career path for individuals who find fulfillment and intrigue in designing, building and testing new technologies and products,” emphasized Kadlowec.

Engineering is part of BW’s STEM Scholars Program and Choose Ohio First Scholarship.

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