AE202 Students Catapult into Human-Centered Engineering Design

Sixty aerospace engineering undergrad students used SCD as their home base for two weeks during the Fall 2023 semester to engage in a new requirements-based mini-project.

Our interdisciplinary research team, led by Dr. Saad Shehab and SCD Fellow Taylor Tucker, has been collaborating over the past year with aerospace affiliate faculty Tim Bretl, Elle Wroblewski, and Michael Lembeck as part of a SIIP grant focused on using a human-centered engineering design framework to develop strategic learning progressions across three required engineering courses, one in each of years two, three, and four of Illinois’ aerospace program.

Through the design and validation of our learning progressions, we seek to strengthen connections and continuity among the sequence of courses in ways that support the development of students’ competencies. The new mini-project was the latest in a series of activities implemented to strengthen these connections. The project tasked small teams of students to design, test, and iterate a catapult to meet certain requirements as well as communicate their design decisions to a peer audience and identify potential end users.

The students were free to use different spaces within SCD, such as the Shop and Moonlight Bay, and many enjoyed being able to move around the building and adopt certain spaces for different parts of the project. We are grateful for all of the positive feedback we received as well as the opportunity to host the class and observe them put our spaces to use!