Engineering courses boost STEM incentive

Added course offerings reflect demand in service area

By Benjamin Bassham, Staff Writer

A need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees has driven Contra Costa College to offer new programming courses.

Introduction to Engineering, ENGIN-112, which according to the CCC course catalog for 2015-16 introduces students to the engineering educational system, describes engineering disciplines, employment opportunities,  engineering design and development process, was added previously.

Now, two more classes have been added.

As of this semester Engineering Design Graphics, ENGIN-200, is available. Programming for Engineering Science, ENGIN-170, will be available in the spring semester.

Senior Electronics Technician Jeffrey Kamalian said, “There’s a demand in our service area.”

Physics and engineering assistant professor Mark Wong said, “Some of our students were having to take (these classes) elsewhere and that’s not ideal.”

ENGIN-200, which for now will only be offered in the fall semester, according to the catalog, covers the principles of engineering drawings in visually communicating engineering and introduces computer-aided design (CAD). Topics will include mechanical dimensioning, tolerancing practices and more.

ENGIN-170, which will be offered only in the spring, will use the MATLAB environment to teach computer based problem solving, and object oriented programming.

“MATLAB is a specific programming language that is often favored by engineering students. It’s useful for solving anything from simple to quite complicated math.” Wong said.

“Lots of different engineering problems can be modeled in a MATLAB environment. For example you could model the tensile or compressive forces in a beam, or the current flow through a circuit.”

Mera Horne, who also serves as a mechanical engineering instructor at UC Berkeley, currently teaches ENGIN-200 and will teach the ENGIN-170 course in the spring.

She said, “ (The course) is a very essential program for all engineering transfer students to any UC or CSU.”

Dr. Horne said it was taught at Diablo Valley College and CCC students who wished to pursue engineering transfer degrees were commuting there.

Wong said ENGIN-200 teaches how to design using AutoCAD for 2D or 3D so that builders can understand what is needed to be made, or send it to a 3D printer or a computer numerical control mill.

“A lot of people confused (this class) with drafting or CAD classes,” Horne said. “This class is much more than that. It combines both and more.”

Electrical engineering major Abram Ballesteros, who is enrolled in the course, said, “(I like) the class because I’m getting to create. (I’m) using software to create things.”

ENGIN-200 has 11 students this semester. Horne said the course is under enrolled, with the full capacity at 32 students.

“I don’t know how much outreach has been done,” Horne said.

Wong said the courses may be run the rest of the  academic year if demand increases.

Engineering major Ricardo Sanchez said, “It feels good learning a new thing. I never thought I would be doing 3D modeling. I was going to take it at DVC, but I saw that they had it here.”