Community Service Advocate
Serving the community has always been a primary goal of Santa Clara University, and one of the ways the School of Engineering does its part is by putting undergraduates to work on projects for our neighbors.
“We want students to get excited early on about engineering and how it can be used in every aspect of the community,” said associate professor of electrical engineering Shoba Krishnan. “From the very start we want them to be keen on working in multi-level, multi-disciplinary groups to solve a problem for the local community. We have enough problems in our own backyard to keep plenty of students busy.”
An avid proponent of getting engineering students excited about their chosen field of study, Krishnan teaches ENGR 110, Engineering Projects for the Community. “It’s a great course because students can try different types of engineering to see what they like,” she said. Even students who are firmly ensconced in a particular major can tackle projects outside their area of expertise, broadening their knowledge while performing a valuable service. “Aside from the hands-on experience they gain,” she said, “they also build confidence in their problem-solving ability.”
In the past year, students completed projects for a number of community partners, including the Wilson Adult Education Center, Peterson Middle School, Walden West Science School, and SCU’s own Bronco Urban Garden, and Krishnan couldn’t be happier. “It’s really fun to witness those moments when students take the theory they’ve learned and are excited to apply it for the good of the community,” she said.