Alamosa News | Hickenlooper Gets First-Hand Experience of ASU’s Groundbreaking Mechanical Engineering Program

ALAMOSE – “I love everything I see, and this program is outstanding. Think of the curiosity that will be created here. When I go back to Washington and we talk about the expenses imposed by Congress, I can tell my fellow senators here this university in southern Colorado that may not be considered a high-powered university, but really does remarkable things. And I know it because I saw it.

It was part of Senator Hickenlooper’s statements at the end of a tour that, along with several staff members and a group of civic leaders, nonprofit leaders, and faculty and staff from the State University of Adams and Trinidad State College, he took the Porter Building, the future site of Adams State University’s (ASU) groundbreaking mechanical engineering program.

Senator Hickenlooper and Senator Bennet were responsible for securing $1.1 in congressional directed spending for the highly innovative plan.

The ASU/CSU Mechanical Engineering program is the result of an intense collaborative effort between the two universities to bring CSU’s prestigious, high-quality mechanical engineering to the San Luis Valley that would not have been possible before.

According to ASU physics professor Dr. Matt Nehring, who led the tour, the program’s curriculum was adapted from CSU’s existing four-year curriculum so that students enrolled at ASU take their first two years of mechanical engineering courses at ASU. Then, once accepted into the program, students will transfer to CSU for the remaining two years. Those who successfully complete the program will receive their bachelor’s degree from CSU, a highly respected program ranked third among all mechanical engineering programs in the state.

According to Nehring, CSU eventually plans to have four to five faculty members located on the ASU campus, but clearly the benefits go both ways.

“This program isn’t just good for the Adams State,” Nehring says. “CSU has a broad mechanical engineering curriculum but lacks diversity among its students.” According to Nehring, transfer students from ASU will provide that diversity that CSU seeks.

The mechanical engineering program located at Porter Hall will include separate lab spaces dedicated to a physics lab, which will be equipped with wind turbines, water turbines and a jet engine; a mechatronics – technology that combines electronics and mechanical engineering involving the study of robotics where 300 level courses will be offered, physics and a machinery laboratory that will operate as a “full-fledged machine shop”.

Nehring also said a four-year program isn’t the only option for ASU students interested in mechanical engineering. The university also offers a two-year program for those who might be more interested in a shorter program that still provides them with the education they seek.

In a conversation held at the building’s STEM center after the tour, a number of people added their perspective on the significant difference the program can make in the lives of students, not only allowing them to realize their full potential in a familiar and supportive educational setting. but also by offering them the opportunity to work in a well-paid and in-demand profession.

The comments also reflected a strong consensus that student growth in a field like mechanical engineering is a process involving full community involvement.

“One of our core missions at the university is to serve SLV in a cooperative manner and to access the talents of people in government, non-profit organizations and health and is a resource that adds to the existing talent,” said Dr. Tandberg, acting Adams State chairman. “I see the mechanical engineering program as a great place where the university can do something that other organizations can’t. But to be successful, it will take cooperation and partnerships – such as with the city and all school districts – to really make it work and realize its potential. You think of the “field of dreams” – build it and they will come. And I think if we create innovative programs like this, it will attract employers, and that will benefit the program even more.

“Knowledge is power, but applied knowledge is even more powerful,” said Mayor Ty Coleman. “The education students will receive in this program at this university will apply directly to their work experiences in the workforce and it will happen throughout their lives.”

The visit to ASU was part of a series of conversations Sen. Hickenlooper had in the San Luis Valley. Earlier in the day, he and his staff had participated in a roundtable on water, involving more than 40 people from several organizations.

“I like everything I’ve heard in the valley,” he said before leaving. “There’s a real spirit of cooperation in everything people do here.”

Although Senator Michael Bennet was unable to attend the tour, a statement was received from his spokesperson. “This federal funding will help Adams State University launch an engineering program that will create more opportunities for economic growth in the San Luis Valley. These are exactly the kinds of federal investments we should be making in communities across our state. »