Ready, set, SCOPE!

Meena Vembusubramanian

Hey all!

I just wanted to introduce you to one of the most distinctive parts of senior year at Olin: SCOPE. The way the SCOPE (Senior Consulting Program for Engineering) program is structured is that all Olin seniors are split into student teams of four-six students, each team working on a project sponsored by a different company. This tends to be a nice real world 101 lesson for soon to graduate seniors, since these are very real companies, paying very real money to sponsor these teams -- and therefore expecting some very real engineering consulting work to be accomplished by the end of the year.

My team, for instance, is sponsored by Rockwell Automation. Our team's goal for this year is to identify, assess and develop a viable business application for a MEMS based microfluidic sensor chip developed by the RA Advanced Technology Lab. In keeping with Rockwell Automation's business structure, the team's focus will be on solving customer problems as they relate to an industrial, rather than consumer setting. In addition, we also plan to work on the integration of the chip into a commercially viable modular sensing head, with the possibility of developing middle electronics and firmware.

Translated to less corporate speak, what we're doing is essentially a more technical, slightly different approach to something Olin loves: user centered design. In our case, we've got a great solution, now to identify and adapt to users with a processing need our solution can add value to.

Our team plans to begin at a broad level, gaining exposure to various industries and their processes, which will then serve as a lead to begin identifying applications. And because we've learnt that seeing a user interact with their environment first hand can teach us infinitely more than phone conversations ever can, our team is kicking off a semester of site visits with a tour of a local brewery tomorrow -- exciting!

While I look forward to sharing my experiences on SCOPE this year with you, I should point out that like a number of other teams, our team is under a non-disclosure agreement. This means that as we get deeper into the project, I will not be at liberty to share details of what we're working on. And because vague, cryptic posts are going to be no fun, I'm going to take the liberty to focus on the pedagogical aspects of SCOPE, and write more about what "big picture" messages I am getting out of my SCOPE experiences.

That's it for now! Here's a picture of our good looking team to hold our eager audience over until next week.


Team Rockwell Automation: Helen Lewis-Rzeszutek (ECE, Safety and Ethics Co-ordinator), Me! (ECE, Project Manager), Eric Munsing (Mech. E, Business Track Lead), Jon Cass (E:Computing, Technical Lead), Hans Borchardt (Mech. E, Budget Coordinator)

Thanks for reading,

- Meena

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