September 22, 2016 – Computer engineers create the future. By bridging electrical engineering and computer science, computer engineers develop software that integrates with complex devices like robots, remote sensors, self-driving vehicles, rovers, probes, drones, spacecraft, and even the smartphones in everyone’s pockets. To achieve this, computer engineers grow their skills in both coding software and designing electronic devices, combining the two to create new and unique instruments that interact with our world and expand our understanding of everything around us.
Launching in Fall 2017, Fort Lewis College’s Computer Engineering program is a new major in an established department with proven ABET-accredited programs, expert faculty, and top-notch facilities – all in a close, personal, small-school setting. With a hands-on emphasis, students will engage in all phases of computer engineering, from idea to reality. Here, students won’t just study engineering – they’ll do it: Design. Build. Test. And by graduation, they’ll have the technical skills, real-world experience, and global awareness to adapt to an ever-evolving industry and world.
Learning by doing is a hallmark of the physics & engineering programs at Fort Lewis College. Over the years, the department has gained a reputation for its focus on designing, prototyping and building. Students in the programs have designed and built projects from bridges that can be packed on a horse for use with Hotshot firefighting crews to submersible robotic vehicles to Baja racers.
“We make them design, do the analysis to demonstrate that the design is valid, test it, break it, figure out why it broke, then go back and make it better,” said Dr. Ryan Haaland, professor of Physics & Engineering. “The maker space mentality, where you just throw a bunch of parts in the room and let the kids have at it and go build something, that’s fine and that’s great for creative things, but that’s not going to make sure the new widget is not going to fall apart, that the bridge is safe to cross, the airplane is safe to board. There’s a vast difference there.”
The FLC Department of Physics & Engineering has seen tremendous growth over the last few years. Computer engineering will add to the department’s emphasis on collaboration between the scientists and engineers. The goal is to build a student’s knowledge across disciplines that often don’t work together as much as they could. This exposure to training across the theoretical to the practical allows graduates to adapt quickly to an increasingly complex world.