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New labs give Seminole State Engineering Technology students hands on experience

Seminole State student Derek Baie and Professor Kirk Sawyer discuss one of the engineering projects that students work on in the lab.

Students enrolled in the Engineering Technology program at Seminole State College of Florida now have new labs for hands-on instruction.

The labs at the Oviedo Campus were constructed and equipped with funds from two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, a Duke Energy grant, and funding from the College.

Professor Christy Graves, Program Manager for Engineering Technology, demonstates the truss used to analyze structural loads, in the new engineering lab at the Oviedo Campus during the Engineering Technology open house held on Oct. 11, 2016.

The lab equipment will be used for hands-on instruction for basic engineering science experiments, mechatronics and robotics, electronics and control, mechanics of materials and alternative energy projects. In addition to the physical lab space, the College also has virtual and mobile labs for online study and recruiting the next generation of engineers and technicians.

"I strongly believe that students should, from Day 1, begin learning how to create design solutions to increasingly complex problems.  Traditional program labs focus on single, narrow technical skills.  We continue to develop labs that focus on cross-disciplinary skills that require a whole device, system, or product design solution," said Michael Staley, Dean of the School of Engineering, Design and Construction.

Seminole State engineering student Derek Baie says the labs are great for both students and staff.

"I was impressed to see the addition of the Engineering Technology Lab to our campus and the passion of all involved like Professor Sawyer whom have allowed for, not only a much more hands-on learning experience for engineering students, yet also have allowed for this campus' engineering department to further advance its currently offered educational programs," said Baie. 

Seminole State's "Tiny House" was on display during the open house for visitors to tour.

A report from the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI), says engineering and computer technology jobs dominate the top ten highest paying college degrees with an average starting salary of $58,087. 

Seminole State’s Engineering Technology programs integrate project-based learning into the educational experience. Unlike many university programs that are focused on theory and book learning, Seminole State has adopted a project based hands-on learning model.  Recent projects have included the design, build, test and repair of a variety of complex engineered systems.

The program has allowed Seminole State to partner with local area high schools and introduce hundreds of students to STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, related fields. There are currently over 300 dual enrolled students through our partnership with the Engineering Magnet program at Lyman High School.

The projects allow students go beyond the classroom and tackle current global issues such as affordable housing, renewable and clean energy, and clean air and water. 

In addition to hands on training, students are taking part in projects to give back to the community. Using a grant from the Home Depot Foundation, faculty, students and alumni were able to work together to remodel a bathroom for a disabled veteran.

Engineering and computer technology jobs dominate the top ten highest paying college degrees with an average starting salary of $58,087.  This according to a report from Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI), which each year releases data on starting salary information from thousands of employers across the country.

Seminole State offers the following degree programs:

  • A.A., Pre-Engineering (articulated courses map into UCF’s Engineering program)
  • A.S., Architectural Engineering Technology
  • A.S., Engineering Technology
  • A.S., Engineering Technology
  • Bachelor of Science, Information Systems Technology
  • Bachelor of Science, Engineering Technology          
    • Project Management Track
    • Civil/Site Survey/GIS Track
    • Modeling and Design Track
    • Alternative Energy Track
    • Mechatronics & Robotics Track 

For more information go to

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