Engineering program receives high-tech equipment

Students taking engineering courses can expect to see some shiny, new equipment when they start off the 2016-2017 school year.

The engineering major might be a recent addition to the curriculum at Cornell College, but changes are coming quickly.

This summer large boxes were unloaded into West Science Center as old machines were replaced with top-of-the-line equipment.

“We are very lucky to get new equipment,”  said Engineering Professor Brian Johns. “We received a new table saw, and I’m excited about the CNC Mill and the CNC lathe. CNC stands for computer numeric control, meaning they are all controlled by computers.”

The program also received a new 3D printer. 

“We are going to be one of the few small schools around this area to have this type of machinery, and I think it really enables a builder culture where students can dream up designs, come down to our shop, and make their ideas a reality,” Professor Johns said.

Professors also know that at a liberal arts school, it’s important for students specializing in other fields to have access to the equipment.

“The equipment isn’t just useful to engineers,” said Professor of Physics and Engineering Lyle Lichty. “I’m expecting it is going to be very useful for the physics, chemistry or biology, and math departments in the future. There’s a lot you can do with the equipment we have.”

This will only be the second full year for the engineering program, and many already have big goals for the students.

“The goals for my students are to become the leaders of tomorrow–not just the people who sit in cubicles and have the technical skills to succeed, but the people that can go out and become the CEOs and the engineering managers,” Professor Johns said.

There’s a need for people to fulfill engineering jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook of many engineering fields is projected to grow from 2014 to 2020.

“What’s great about the engineering program is it gives our students more options,” Professor Lichty said. “Before this, students could go on and do graduate work in physics or they could find some technical jobs in physics. Now they can go get employed in engineering and they can go to grad school in engineering. I think students like learning how to make things and design things.”

An engineering sciences degree from Cornell positions students well for jobs that require training in electrical engineering or mechanical engineering, as well as related fields such as computer engineering. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports average starting salaries in those fields as $60,900, $61,000, and $65,300, respectively.

Students will get the opportunity to start using the new high-tech equipment right away during the first block of the school year.