Students in the Department of Engineering and Physics have begun a new club to explore and practice different skills in the engineering field.
The club, called the Engineering Students’ Association, is not yet officially recognized by Student Life, but meetings are taking place and plans are in the works for new projects.
Francisco Teran, president of the ESA, said the group is hard at work getting everything ready.
“We’re working on all the paperwork right now,” said Teran, junior engineering major from McKinney. “But it’s real. We’re having meetings.”
The ACU engineering degree program is in its third year of existence but is not yet accredited by any society outside the school.
Dr. Matthew Steele, assistant professor of engineering and physics, is one of two faculty sponsors for the ESA. He said developing the club is an important step in preparing for future accreditation by the nationally recognized Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
“It’s just that next stepping stone,” Steele said. “Next year, we go up for accreditation after the seniors graduate, but there’s no reason we can’t have our student groups. It just isn’t affiliated at a national level. But this allows us to get our structure in place.”
This semester, Teran said the club plans to rebuild a golf cart in the newly renovated Bennett Gymnasium.
“We’re going to work on the engine and the suspension,” Teran said. “We’re going to modify the golf cart. We don’t really know what we’re going to do with it (after), but right now it’s just something fun to do.”
Steele said hands-on projects benefit students.
“We found last year when we did a lot of activities outside of the normal classroom, we started working on a few little projects; it really helped with retention,” Steele said.
Once the club becomes official and receives funding from ACU, it will enter competitions with different projects, Teran said.
The ESA plans to have meetings biweekly or monthly and are working on finding an appropriate time to host these meetings, Steele said. The club intends to bring in engineering experts from around Abilene and Texas to share with students about different career possibilities and experiences.
“That’s the goal of this group: to provide a social and a professional group to help them develop themselves,” Steele said. “We’re there mostly as mentors trying to stay as much hands-off as possible to let them do a lot on their own.”
Teran said the group will be integral in furthering the engineering program.
“It’s going to help us create a network and help other students know what they are going to do after graduation,” Teran said. “It’s going to allow students to get involved in activities they enjoy outside of school. It’s also going to help everybody get to know each other. It’s going to help create relationships inside the engineering department.”