The Capstone Design program requires students to navigate a complex engineering problem, work collaboratively in teams, and persistently tackle the challenge over the course of an academic year.
“For their senior year, instead of having a typical taught class, one of their classes is a capstone project. For the entire year, they are working in teams of 3 to 6 on some project, typical for a client, with the idea that they are working on something that doesn't have a solution already,” says Capt. Robert Hume, a civil engineering instructor from U.S. Military Academy West Point. “This trip is a small part of that year-long project. We figured it would be helpful to meet the clients we are working for, see the site, and see if we can get a feel for the region as well.”
The Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer (DCSENG) of SETAF-AF has been mentoring and providing open-ended engineering design projects to the program for four consecutive years, guiding students in meaningful engineering design projects that align with their academic commitments.
This year, the Cadet team must provide a structural analysis and design for a canopy structure that fully covers the three basketball courts while minimizing interior columns.
If constructed, this canopy promises to open up exciting possibilities for the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) department, allowing them to expand the fitness area to include an outdoor workout space, mirroring the offerings at Caserma Ederle.
“The strongest benefit is the partnership opportunity, both for West Point, the department of civil mechanical engineering, and for SETAF-AF,” said Capt. Matthew Glavin, a civil engineering instructor from U.S. Military Academy West Point. “We both benefit by providing the Cadets a world class opportunity to put their engineering education into practice to solve a real world problem.”
Student teams undergo an iterative design process: defining the problem and its requirements, analyzing alternatives within the constraints of applicable codes and standards, and ultimately selecting the most viable solution that culminates into the presentation of written deliverables and presentations to a faculty advisor team, external customers, and stakeholders.
SETAF-AF's continued involvement in West Point's Capstone Design Program exemplifies its dedication to fostering engineering talent, preparing Cadets to confront real-world engineering challenges, and ensuring they are equipped to contribute to innovative solutions in the future, reflecting SETAF-AF's commitment to building the engineers of tomorrow.