The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and the College of Engineering (COE) have launched a capstone senior project class at CSULB that is engaging interdisciplinary teams of top-achieving students in innovative, real-world research and development projects. Each participating student team works for an entire academic year on a real-world engineering, technology or business problem selected by SoCalGas.
The selection process for this program is highly competitive, with only top-achieving seniors from the Engineering, Computer Science and Business departments being considered by a selection committee comprised of representatives from SoCalGas’ Engineering, Emerging Technologies, and Human Resources departments. Though receiving guidance from CSULB faculty and senior engineers from SoCalGas, each student team is responsible for developing its own project strategy, organization, tasks and budget, and for ultimately delivering a working prototype with commercialization potential.
"All indications thus far suggest that this is a highly beneficial experience for all of the students involved," said Parviz Yavari, professor in CSULB’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and instructor of this new course. "Each team member is receiving vital firsthand experience in negotiating project plans, in making presentations, in adjusting to changing conditions, and in writing a final report—in short, in being a professional engineer."
The College of Engineering is making plans to expand this program so that many more students can benefit from it. "We are hoping to offer multiple sections of a capstone senior project class that follows this innovative model," said Forouzan Golshani, dean of the College of Engineering. "Ideally each student in our Honors program will have the opportunity to participate in a similar initiative."