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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Members of SDSU's Concrete Canoe Team at Design Day. Members of SDSU's Concrete Canoe Team at Design Day.

Engineering the Future of Design

The annual Design Day showcased projects designed by undergraduate SDSU engineers.
By Hallie Jacobs

A San Diego Sky Tram; renovations to parks around the county; suggestions for more sustainable bridge designs — San Diego State University's engineering students are thinking big.

More than 60 undergraduate engineering students showcased their capstone projects at SDSU's annual Design Day. Students shared their projects, ranging from street spatial designs to concrete canoes.

The event, held on Dec. 5 at the Caltrans District 11 office, provided an avenue for graduating engineering students to share their designs with industry professionals and the community.

Students networked with Caltrans staff, public sector and high-ranking officials from engineering firms and other novices within the engineering industry. Industry leaders from companies including Northrop Grumman and Solar Turbines attended the event and marveled at the ingenuity of SDSU students. 

"This gives the community an introduction to the future of engineering," said James Haughey, adjunct professor of civil engineering. "These students are the next generation of engineers and their ideas are what will innovate the future."

Carlos Alberto Parra, a graduating senior majoring in environmental engineering, enjoyed the real-world applications his project provided. As a member of the San Diego Sky Tram team, Parra helped develop a plan for a sky tram in downtown San Diego going from the Gaslamp Quarter to Balboa Park through Sixth Avenue.

"Design day gives seniors the opportunity to work in teams and develop a project that requires the application of the knowledge that you have learned from the classes taken at SDSU," he said. "The design project is a simulation of what working for an engineering team is like, and gives you an idea of the type of work that you could be doing after graduation."

On the horizon

Design Day was created to get students in touch with industry professionals. Through their work, many students have gone on to secure jobs before graduating.

Jessica Barlow, director of SDSU's Sage Project, emphasized the importance of real-world experience. The Sage Project is a partnership between SDSU and a local government in the San Diego region.

"Several students who have participated in the Sage Project — from a variety of disciplines — have been given internships and employment with National City as a result of the impressive work they've done through the Sage Project," she said. "And many other students have been able to highlight their experiences working on these real-world projects on their resumes."