Choosing UMass Lowell

On Saturday, April 8, we will welcome hundreds of accepted students onto campus with family and friends to look at our College and University. It is an exciting time of year, although I know the decision of choosing a University can be daunting for a student and family.

I know I am biased, but it is hard for me to believe that there is a better value than UMass Lowell for any student interested in Engineering – especially for those from Massachusetts. Our programs are nationally ranked and ABET accredited, with companies all over the globe coveting our graduates (our placement rate was 96% in the College last year). But I believe it is the experiential learning opportunities that truly define a UMass Lowell education. At Lowell, students can be:

  • Competitors: Join a team and compete in concrete canoe, steel bridge, chemical car, SAE car, embedded systems, digital design, design-build-fly, solar house, wind energy and more!
  • Designers: Hang out in our 8500 ft.2 Makerspace and take napkin sketches to computer-aided-designs to prototypes to final products using the latest equipment, including 3D-Printers, Laser Cutters, CNC Lathes and Milling Machines.
  • Educators: The best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Our service-learning courses allow students to go into the community and teach STEM subject matter to middle and high school students.       This can be formalized into a teaching certificate through our UTeach program.
  • Innovators: Our DifferenceMaker curriculum cover the process of defining a problem, developing a solution, identifying a market, working in a team, and pitching a solution. Compete for real prize money to develop your product or service in our Prototyping Competition each fall and the Idea Challenge each spring.
  • Professionals: Take the necessary steps to becoming a practicing engineer by participating in our professional co-op program, internships, or industrial experiences. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary senior design option will allow you to solve a problem posed by an industrial sponsor.
  • Researchers: Explore cutting edge technologies in a variety of fields, including clean energy, nanomanufacturing, flexible electronics, composites, structural health monitoring, biomanufacturing, sensors, and smart transportation.

And this is really just a taste of being a RiverHawk. There is always something happening on campus to motivate further learning. It really is no surprise that publications such as Payscale.com, BestColleges.com and Forbes define us as a great value.

 

 

FRC5962 “perSEVERE” shows First Robotics Competition they came to play

Alumnus Mike Johnston is at the culmination of an incredible rookie year with Merrimack Valley Robotics and the FRC 5962 team. At the start of this school year his team was just a small group of local kids hoping to add FIRST into their robotics club project. With 25 days before registration was due for the 2016 season, they were informed that the team could not be supported by the school. They were homeless, but, they were determined.

The students shifted their focus, and aimed to create a team that was a collaboration of numerous local communities – rather than one town. Full of passion, they came to UMass Lowell, and asked for help. We were happy to offer our new Makerspace, which included many of the tools that would be needed to construct the robot.  FRC 5962 then partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, and reached out to local schools to seek team members and additional mentors. Their recruiting efforts paid off, and the team grew to include students from Lowell, Dracut, Haverhill, Methuen, North Reading, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, and Tyngsboro MA and Salem NH.

By December 1, more than 30 middle-school and high-school students had “moved in” to the Makerspace, prepared to spend the next six weeks (at times I’m sure it seemed 24-7!) designing and building a robot for the international FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

The students put their technical skills to the test by constructing a robot that can complete a variety of tasks and games. Their creation, named “Scorpio,” is built with materials — and limited instructions — provided by the contest’s organizers. During the six-week period, team members learned to use power tools and run sophisticated computer programs under the guidance of engineers from companies such as Analog Devices, Kronos Inc. and IBM. Many of these mentors are UMass Lowell alumni.

Student-designed robotScorpio measures approximately 2½ by 2½ feet and stands 18 inches high. The unit weighs about 120 pounds and is powered by a 12-volt rechargeable battery.

Though the season has come to an end, FRC 5962 has made a significant contribution to the FIRST competition, and garnered an impressive number of awards. Their final ranking for the robotics season includes:

Rookie All-Star Award – North Shore District Event: Celebrates the rookie team exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology.

Gracious Professionalism Award – UNH District Event: Celebrates outstanding demonstration of FIRST Core Values such as continuous Gracious Professionalism® working together both on and off the playing field.

Highest Rookie Seed Award – UNH District Event: Celebrates the highest-seeded rookie team at the conclusion of the qualifying rounds.

Rookie Inspiration AwardNew England District Championship: Celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community.

Ranked 48 of 181 teams – FIRST Robotics Competition 2016, New England District

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We are extremely proud of the dedication of PerSEVERE’s students and mentors and their AMAZING finish in their very first contest. It has been fun to witness the students’ energy and excitement for engineering while working away in our campus lab over the past several weeks. We look forward to more building in the future!

-Joe