Innovation in the classroom


Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academia

Ep. 18

Engineering is about using science to find creative practical solutions. The question then becomes - how do we train engineers to understand the problems and work with teams to get to those solutions? The best way is to give potential engineering students an opportunity to practice the class-gained skills in the real world as part of their course. 

This will prepare them to analyze problems, communicate solutions, engage stakeholders, and create project plans, among others. It’ll also stir their passion because they’ll get to see the potential impact that real engineering can create on communities all over the world.

In this episode, Dora Smith interviews Will (Bill) Oakes, an award-winning educator and the Director of the EPICS Program at Purdue University. He’ll share with us what motivated his transition from the industry to academia. He’ll also help us understand the EPICS program, its mission, challenges, and some of its success stories.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • The objective of the Purdue EPICS Program (08:11)
  • The major benefits of the program (17:12)
  • How the work of the students in the program is graded (21:19)
  • The differences between students that come from the program and those from traditional education setting (25:12)
  • What it takes to build lasting relationships with communities (28:14)
  • Some of the program's success stories and the impact they’ve had on the communities (33:29)

Connect with William:

More Episodes


Promoting Student Involvement and Engagement with SPEED

Ep. 20
The education system was hit hard during the initial stages of the COVID lockdowns but managed to bounce back fast through digital engagements. It was especially difficult for engineering students who require a lot of practical classes and collaboration with peers. However, even as people get back to their classrooms, some of the innovative digital solutions that came from remote learning are continuing to play a big role.Another phenomenon that is being experienced is the rise of students’ engagement and networking at an early stage. They no longer wait to finish school to see the value of creating meaningful connections with students taking similar courses in different universities, and also with people already in the industry. In this episode, Dora Smith interviews two engineering students, Maria Laura Polo and Felipe Gomez. They are both members of SPEED (Student Platform for Engineering Education Development), a student-engagement organization. They’ll share with us how their organization promotes student involvement and engagement. Additionally, they’ll share with us their experiences with remote learning and teaching when COVID was at its peak. In This Episode, You Will Learn:How Maria and Felipe got into Engineering (02:27)Their advice to students thinking of Pursuing engineering (05:30)How SPEED drives student involvement and engagement (10:28)What the initiative ‘Voice of Change’ is all about (22:46)What the ‘SDG for Youth Network’ involves (31:06)Digital innovations that Maria and Felipe experienced during COVID lockdowns (40:53)Connect with Maria:EmailWorld SPEEDConnect with Felipe:LinkedIn