A major part of your student career at Embry-Riddle is the capstone course. For engineers the capstone course is comprised of two semesters/courses known as Preliminary and Detail Design. As a student in my freshman year I knew nothing about these two courses and towards the end of my junior year I began hearing quite abit about them. I wish I had known what the two courses entailed much earlier as I would have definitely restructured my game plan as far as fundamental courses go.
The Preliminary Design course essentially forces you to use all of the resources you have learned in the past three years at college. You will work crazy hours, get frustrated but you will fall in love with what you are doing. The course teaches you how to be a leader and a member of a team, how to face problems and fix them, but, most important it teaches pride in your work. At the end of the semester you should have an outstanding product and an increased knowledge of professional engineering.
When you move into the Detail Design course you are verifying the information that you presented at the conclusion of the Preliminary Design semester. There are many options to verify assertions. The primary one is wind tunnel testing but, often students choose to fabricate a working prototype of their concept in order to prove that it works. No matter what your team chooses to do the process is extremely rewarding as you get to see how your intuition created a viable product.
I would highly recommend that every student entering these courses attempts to be a program manager or design team lead. As a PM or DTL you are the face of the team, responsible for the schedule, budget, and work produced by the team. I have been a PM for the last two semesters and although it has been very hard it has been extremely rewarding. For those ladies out there, don’t be intimidated, you are just as qualified to lead a team as any other member in your class. In my section of Preliminary and Detail Design I am the only female and I am one of two Program Managers. As long as you are a good manager you will do well but, don’t worry mistakes happen. No one is born a perfect manager and it takes alot of mistakes to figure out your management style. Just hang in there, do good work, take care of your people, and admit when you make a mistake. That’s really all it takes 🙂
I hope this information is helpful to our incoming students as well as our up and coming leaders in the Capstone courses! Thanks for reading!