Our mission is to help bring the real-world into the classroom by providing engineering students with practical hands-on experience through industry-sponsored and client-based capstone design projects. In 2012/13, we completed a record 174 projects for nearly one hundred different sponsors, and more than 750 engineering students at Penn State University Park participated in such a project.
The Learning Factory provides a University-Industry partnership where student design projects benefit industrial clients and industrial sponsors interact with students and faculty to help us create world-class engineers and make a significant difference in engineering education at Penn State.
Projects involve one or more disciplines in engineering, but we also try to partner engineering students with students in Business, Information Sciences & Technology (IST), and other fields when appropriate. Business students have helped create real business plans for some of our start-up and small business partners, and IST students have helped companies address IT-related issues (e.g., data management, access, security) as part of these projects. Contact the Director of the Learning Factory to learn more.
Teams of engineering students tackle problems sponsored by real industrial clients, challenging students to apply the knowledge and tools acquired during their undergraduate education to help solve real engineering problems. Since its inception in 1995, more than 1250 such projects have been completed for nearly 350 different companies. The Learning Factory provides a unique opportunity for industry sponsors to partner with Penn State to help educate the next generation of World Class Engineers using state-of-the-art facilities for design, prototyping, and fabrication.
Students help start-up firms like Maximus V through the entire product development process
For small companies, these teams are their "engineering workforce" for the semester. For larger companies, these teams are helping develop new ideas or improving current practices, both of which can impact a company's bottom line. These projects are also great ways for companies to get to know students when looking for new employees and also to train junior-level engineers and managers by providing project management experience in a low cost, low risk, potentially high pay-off setting. These are just some of the benefits that our sponsors report.