Engineering students

First Year Engineering Program

Dive into Design

A backpack that reminds you if you forget something…A vest that senses workplace accidents...Automatic de-fogging goggles... A smart medicine cabinet…A foot-controlled mouse for the disabled. At Western New England University, you won’t have to wait until graduation to begin designing products that improve people’s lives. Here, you’ll dive into the design and innovation process on Day One of your very first semester. 

Fall Semester: Introduction to Engineering

In this interactive course, you'll gain real engineering experience working on teams of four or fewer on actual design projects.

Your Mission: To design and build a Fully Autonomous Multitasking Robot prototype to compete against other teams.

Criteria for Success: Energy optimization, good maneuverability, and intelligent sensing of the environment.

Applied Learning: Machine and assemble components, learn basic circuitry and wiring, and program an Arduino microcontroller.

Acquired Skills: Learn the engineering design process, communication, and teamwork—essential building blocks for a successful career in engineering.

Bot Battle Battle

Theory to practice takes on a whole new meaning when freshmen in the Engineering Fundamentals course square off in a heated competition for high marks and bragging rights in a series of five robot challenges based around a "customer" of U.S. Army Engineers.

Spring Semester: Data Acquisition and Processing

The skills you’ve learned in the first semester become more advanced in the second as you apply them to identify an opportunity to solve a problem using smart technology. Past innovations include:

  • A smart fish tank monitor and feeder
  • A cardiac monitor for exercise
  • An automatic pool tester and chemical distributor
  • A window that adjusts its opening based on outside weather conditions and indoor temperature
  • An alarm clock toaster oven

Your Mission: Design and build a working smart product to be exhibited at the end of the semester. 

Acquired Skills: How to conduct experiments that involve the collection and processing of data, and how to find opportunities.

Applied Learning: Interpret problem statements and their translation into language that can be understood by software such as MATLAB and LabVIEW. 

These courses challenge you to utilize the engineering design process on more advanced projects. Students start with “painstorming” and developing a “bug list.” This helps identify what pains or bugs users about a given task or situation and indicates a need for innovation. As you determine how to work toward satisfying that need, you'll begin to look at the world through the eyes of an engineer!

Lisa Murray

Professor Spotlight Spotlight

Dr. Lisa Murray is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the First Year Program, which allows her to be dedicated to the program and work with first-year students as they are immersed in the world of engineering—right from day one. Dr. Murray is an alumna of WNE, earning degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Management. She worked as an Engineering Lab Supervisor for 10 years and joined the faculty of the First Year Program in 2022.

Dr. Murray’s Faculty Profile