Even 100-level engineering course can pay off

<p>ASU engineering students find ways to apply their education to the world beyond the classroom well before they graduate. But few see that happen after taking only an introductory course.</p><separator></separator><p>Ruby Gomez, a freshman aerospace engineering major, used what she learned in MAE 110: "Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 100" to help her team clinch first place in a national student competition at a recent Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Tex.</p><separator></separator><p>Her team impressed the competition judges with a business proposal for a mock company that had to solve a low-productivity problem.</p><separator></separator><p>Gomez applied the Team Spirit Model. The model helps teams become service-oriented as they perform projects that address business and engineering issues. She learned about it in the introductory class taught by Steve Trimble.</p><separator></separator><p>Gomez made a poster that illustrated how the Team Spirit Model could be used to help remedy the company’s problem. Her team bested 12 others in the competition.</p><separator></separator><p>“Ruby shows how a good student can immediately integrate new learning into society,” said Trimble, a professor of practice in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Material Engineering, a part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.</p><separator></separator><p>“Our goal for MAE 100 is to educate and inspire students to not only ‘think like an engineer,’ but also ‘do engineering’ right away,” Trimble said.</p><separator></separator><p>For the competition, Gomez worked with team members from various universities, including the University of Houston and San Jose State University.</p><separator></separator><p>The collaborative experience helped make the conference worthwhile, she said.</p><separator></separator><p>“Going to events like this makes me feel like I chose the right major," Gomez said. "Even though it’s challenging, it all pays off in the end.”</p><separator></separator><p>Along with a first-place certificate, Ruby and her teammates each won a 32GB iPod Touch, the Apple pocket computer and media player.</p><separator></separator><p>She plans to share her experience in the competition with students in Trimble’s MAE 100 class in the coming fall semester.</p><separator></separator><p>Gomez also is a member of the ASU student chapter of Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists Society (MAES).&nbsp; She’s been elected secretary for the group for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year.</p><separator></separator><p>“I like MAES because the people there make me feel welcome and like part of a family,” she said. <br /><em></em></p><separator></separator><p><em>Written by Jessica Graham</em></p>