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Undergraduate Programs

Local Projects & Partners

The IDEAS Program Manager serves as the community liaison to initiate and develop long-term working relationships with community organizations as sources of projects and opportunities for STEM Outreach.


ENGR 110: Community Based Engineering Design (2 units)

Do you want real-world design experience which has a real impact on a local community? ENGR 110, offers the chance to complete a project from ideation (beginning) through final prototype (end) while providing actual "hands-on" experience in project management, building cross-disciplinary team skills, and prototyping (all students are Maker Lab trained as part of this course!). At only 2 credits, this course is the perfect venue to practice your engineering, teamwork, and design skills while making a real difference in a community! Offered Thursdays, 2:00-4:45 pm. Sophomores and juniors recommended, but all years welcome; talk to Dr. JAK ( for more information. 

In prior quarters, SCU students have worked with following local community partners on a wide array of projects:

The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad (BJWRR) exists as a means to preserve history and educate the public about the history of railroads (  The BJWRR operates a park railroad system using one-third scale locomotives.  The steam and diesel locomotives are from the early 1900’s and documentation and specifications are limited or non-existent. 

SCU Engineering students have been involved in six projects at BJWRR:

  • New Website for Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad (Engr110, Fall 2012)
  • Study of water and water treatments used in steam engines (Engr110, Fall 2012)
  • (Manual) Surveying of Railroad Tracks at Vasona Park (Engr110, Fall 2012)
  • Weight Estimation for Locomotives (Engr110, Fall 2013)
  • Horsepower Measurement and Determination of Locomotive Efficiency (Engr110, Winter 2014)
  • (Digital) Survey of Railroad Tracks (Engr110, Winter 2014)

To learn more about these projects, check out our projects page.

California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) trains dogs to help in finding and rescuing lost children and adults.


  • Web-Based Database System for CARDA (Engr110, Spring 2009)

Chandler Tripp School on Thornton Way in San Jose is a public school within Santa Clara County.  The school is a site for the Santa Clara County Office of Education's (SCCOE) Early Start program.  Early Start is changing the lives of our youngest students who have established risks and/or developmental needs through developmental intervention and early childhood special education.


  • RFID Navigator (Engr110, Spring 2014)


  • Guadalupe Parkway Path Connection Project - Team 1 (Engr110, Spring 2013)
  • Guadalupe Parkway Path Connection Project - Team 2 (Engr110, Spring 2013)

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy ( provides community leadership for the development and active use of the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens.  The Guadalupe River provides an outdoor laboratory for science experiments for school children.  Over the past three years, SCU engineering students have completed eight projects. 


  • Flood Control Engineering: A Homeschool Series (Engr110, Winter 2012)
  • Portable Ladder for River Access (Engr110, Winter 2012 )
  • Design of Portable Ramp (Engr110, Spring 2012)
  • Boardwalk Wheelchair Access for Orchard (Engr110, Fall 2013)
  • Flood Protection Model (Engr110, Fall 2013)     
  • Enhancements to Tabletop Model Flood Control Demo Unit (Engr110, Winter 2014)          
  • River Turbine Demonstration Unit (Engr110, Winter 2014)          
  • Solar Tracker (Engr110, Spring 2014)  

This was a project for Mission San Jose, located near Milpitas, CA.  On the Mission property were three old and unused wells. The project involved testing of the wells, researching permits, and preparing a project plan to make the wells operational again.  The Mission property has a number of gardens and orchards and wanted to use the well water to provide water for the gardens and orchards.  This project was started in Winter 2013 as an Engr110 project and was continued by the same group of students as a Senior Design Capstone project and completed in Spring 2014.


  • Urban Well Project for the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose (Engr110, Winter 2013)

Peak Surgical designs and manufactures innovative devices for the medical industry.  Both of these two projects were started in Engr110 and became Senior Design Capstone projects completed in Spring 2010.


  • Blood Vessel Recognition Project (Engr110, Spring 2009)
  • Peak Surgical Power Supply (Engr110, Spring 2009)      

Peterson Middle School has a two-acre on-site Nature Center, which serves as a rich educational resource for all students in its district.  The Nature Center was developed by two science teachers to enhance science education during a period of educational budget cuts.  The Nature Center has been influential in teaching students about nature and environmental science through field trips and a highly interactive website.  Over the past five years, SCU engineering students have worked on over 10 projects that have enhanced the educational resources available on the Nature Center website. 


  • Measuring Dissolved Oxygen in Fresh Water and Deep Water Ponds (Engr110, Spring 2010)         
  • Solar Birdhouse Camera (Engr110, Spring 2010)
  • Turtle WebCam (Engr110, Spring 2010)
  • Bluebird Home Video (Engr110, Winter 2011)    
  • Connecting Vernier Oxygen Sensor to Hobo U30 Device (Engr110, Spring 2011)   
  • Underwater Camera Housing (Engr110, Spring 2011)    
  • Squirrel Camera (Engr110, Winter 2014)
  • Tree Key (Engr110, Spring 2014)
  • Turtle Temperature Sensor (Engr110, Spring 2014)
  • Wireless Connectivity to Nature Center (Engr110, Spring 2014)

Santa Clara Adult Education offers courses in personal enrichment, as well as specialized programs to serve individuals with cognitive, developmental or physical disabilities. Students worked on both hardware and software assistive technologies for the students in the specialized programs.  The fifteen projects completed over the past six years have included:


  • Updated Educational Tool for Finances (Engr110, Fall 2009)       
  • Cash Calculator (Engr110, Spring 2011)           
  • Switch Master 3000 Assistive Technology Switch (Engr110, Spring 2011)
  • Where Am I? (Engr110, Spring 2011)   
  • Research in Assistive Communication system: Sensors, Materials, and Design (Engr110, Winter 2012)       
  • Guide for Disabilities Center (Engr110, Spring 2012)      
  • Adapter to Connect Switch to 2-Button Mouse (Engr110, Winter 2013)    
  • Get Me There (Engr110, Winter 2013)   
  • Cause and Effect Program (Engr110, Spring 2013)        
  • Motion Sensor (Engr110, Spring 2013) 
  • Bluetooth Navigational Aid (Engr110,  Fall 2013) 
  • Cause and Effect Learning Tool on Smart Phone or iPad (Engr110, Fall 2013)      
  • Switch for iPad Scrolling via Bluetooth I/F (Engr110, Fall 2013)   

Santa Clara Adult Education offers courses in personal enrichment, as well as specialized programs to serve individuals with cognitive, developmental or physical disabilities. Students worked on both hardware and software assistive technologies for the students in the specialized programs.  This particular project was for the Skills Plus program that provides physical rehabilitation for stroke survivors:


  • Improving the Efficiency of Stroke Patient's Physical Rehabilitation (Engr110, Winter 2011)

The Facilities department at Santa Clara University enlisted the help of Engr110 students to conduct several feasibility studies as part of a campus-wide initiative to reduce energy usage and investigate alternative energy technologies.


  • Sullivan Aquatic Center Heating Proposal (Engr110, Winter 2009)
  • Sullivan Aquatic Center - A Proposal for Solar Thermal Heating (Engr110, Spring 2009)    
  • Windmill Feasibility Study (Engr110, Spring 2009)         
  • Solar Heating Sullivan Aquatic Center (Engr110, Winter 2010)    
  • Biofuel Project (Engr110, Fall 2012)     

The Santa Clara University Forge Garden has involved Engr110 students in a variety of projects including:


  • Solar Powered Chicken Coop (Engr110, Winter 2011)
  • Urbanite Wall (Engr110, Winter 2011)
  • Solar Powered Chicken Coop (Engr110, Spring 2011)
  • Chicken Coop Project (Engr110, Fall 2011)
  • Manual Wood Chipper (Engr110, Spring 2014)

Walden West Outdoor Science School operates a year-round, outdoor, science camp focused on hands-on environmental education, serving nearly 11,000 5th and 6th graders annually.  SCU student projects align with Walden West’s mission of “teaching science today, changing the world tomorrow”. Eleven projects in Engr110 and five senior design capstone projects have been completed at Walden West.

Engr110 Projects:

  • Bicycle-Powered Generator Display (Engr110, Winter 2009)
  • Insulation Demonstration Model for Walden West (Engr110, Fall 2011)
  • Virtual Tour (Engr110, Fall 2011)
  • Water Filtration System-Removal of Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfate (Engr110, Fall 2011)
  • Solar Water Pump (Engr110, Spring 2012)
  • Hydroelectric Power Demonstration Unit (Engr110, Winter 2013)
  • Virtual Tour of Sobrato Sustainability Center (Engr110, Winter 2013)
  • Bike Project (Engr110, Spring 2013)
  • BioDigester/Compost Project (Engr110, Spring 2013)
  • Pond Aeration Project (Engr110, Spring 2013)
  • Solar Powered Water Fountain (Engr110, Spring 2013)


Capstone Senior Design Projects:

  • Sunflower: A Solar-Powered Water Pumping System (Completed June 2009)

    Maurvi Badshaw, Colleen Kilroy, Brahmani Nandamuri
    Advisor: Shoba Krishnan

    To meet the irrigation needs of local outdoor school and science camp Walden West, a solar-powered water pumping system was developed. This community-based project includes a hands-on educational model to demonstrate the importance of sustainability and engineering to fifth- and sixth-grade students.

    This project team was awarded Best Presentation for a Community-Based Project, Senior Design 2009. Project funding was provided in part by a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.