Student project involving QUanser QBot 2 ground robots at the University of New Mexico

The WHY Lab: Better Recruitment, Retention and Undergraduate Research through Experiential Education

Quanser YOUser Webinar
Many freshman engineering students are choosing their program or area of concentration with very little understanding of engineering itself. While traditional lab courses help students better grasp the studied theories, they rarely help to instill the idea that engineering is about “doing” and not just learning “equations, heuristics, and theories.”

The initiative of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of New Mexico aims at giving the freshman students a better sense of what the Electrical and Computer Engineering is.  Shifting from traditional to experiential learning methods, the goal of this initiative is to answer three primary questions: “What” ECE Engineers do; “How” engineers do things and “Why” students need an introduction to ECE like this in the first place.

In this webinar, Dr. Ramiro Jordan and Eric Hamke from UNM introduce the WHY Lab and discuss how it fosters students’ curiosity and confidence to grow outside their comfort zones. They describe the Introduction to Engineering course and how it helps motivate their students and improves students’ skills and engineering literacy.

Watch the webinar recording

Dr. Ramiro Jordan is a Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Associate Dean of Engineering for International Programs. Dr. Jordan has twenty-five years of experience creating and leading STEM education, R&D and entrepreneurial organizations and activities in Ibero-America and other regions in the world. A leader in international engineering education research, he has proven capabilities in fundraising and creating partnerships, regionally and internationally, among academia, industry, government and multilateral organizations.

Mr. Eric Hamke is a scientist, innovator, and educator. He is a PhD candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at the University of New Mexico. He has over 30 years experience with communication and control system evaluation and development. He has worked for Ball Aerospace Engineering, General Motors and Honeywell International. His research activities include machine learning and its applications to human interfaces such as health monitoring, and the development of robust data communication systems for first responders. He is a dedicated educator, actively creating educational content in web-based applications for Cell Phones. He brings his practical experience and best practices into the class room with hands-on experiential approach. His expertise includes the use of MATLAB, Simulink and LABView tools for data collection and analysis.