At The University of Toledo, students enjoy a unique learning culture that promotes practical experience, collaborative learning, community engagement and entrepreneurial thinking. Nowhere on campus are these principles more visible than at UToledo’s College of Engineering.
Engineering labs: Where principle meets practice
“We recruit a graduating class, not a freshman class,” proclaims a mural on the engineering campus. But it’s UToledo’s strong focus on the freshman-year foundation, beginning with the First-Year Experience program, that secures the path to graduation for young UToledo engineers.
To build the connection between principle and practice, UToledo engineering students participate in engaging classroom activities that make them active learners from the start. “My freshman year, we had a huge project,” recalls Ildar Galyavutdinov, student of UToledo’s bioengineering major, originally from Russia. “We had to map the human cardiovascular system and then write a program for the blood flow cycling through it. It was hard,” he adds, “but it was interesting, because every part of the system has a different blood pressure, which we had to account for in our program. I enjoyed it because I gained experience and knowledge that I will use as a future engineer.”
Expert faculty provide instruction, mentorship and more
Behind every student success is a connection with someone from UToledo’s world-class engineering faculty.
“The department…has had a significant impact on my college career,” notes George Lokko, a UToledo bioengineering graduate from Accra, Ghana. “From academic advising to professional development…the college has equipped students with the best faculty members.”
Toledo’s engineering professors come from all over the world, readily-equipped with global reach to match. Trained at leading institutions, they include Fulbright scholars, journal editors and reviewers, textbook authors, and consultants to major corporations, government and international agencies and other research institutions.
The many awards conferred on UToledo’s engineering faculty for teaching, research and community service reflect each instructor’s commitment to student success, both in the classroom and beyond. “The ability to work with brilliant faculty members and the lifetime relationships I have built with everyone on this campus are what I liked best about being an engineering student at Toledo,” he says.
Co-op study provides real-world experience — and employment benefits
“Mandatory co-ops were an important reason for me to select The University of Toledo over other universities,” notes Aditya More, a third-year mechanical engineering major from Mumbai. “They provided me an opportunity to work at various sites involving unique experiences and challenges, and helped me understand what I wanted to do in my career.”
To qualify for a UToledo bachelor’s degree, engineering students are required to complete three full semesters of co-op work, which international students may complete overseas or within the US. “The co-op selection process is a bit lengthy, but you need to have patience,” said Aditya. “It begins with résumé building — engineering’s Career Development Center staff help you develop your résumé, email you various job postings from different companies and also prepare you for your job interview. I did my first co-op at GKN Driveline, a company that manufactures automotive parts. It was a very good learning experience for me.”
Engineering and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand at Toledo
Toledo is a city where many young engineers have launched their own products and built their own companies — and UToledo is the ideal place for them to learn.
UToledo’s first-year focus on real-world engineering skills reaches its peak in the Engineer Week’s Freshman Design Expo. Here, young engineers unveil their entrepreneurial freshman design projects and preview their plans for FEED — engineering’s Freshmen Experience Entrepreneurial Discipline club.
As FEED members, engineering students learn how to take their freshmen design projects to market. Participants have the benefit of hands-on mentorship from faculty, classmates and entrepreneurs; a state-of-the-art makers space; and a co-working space designed for start-ups. The program concludes with ‘Angel Pitch’, a ‘Shark Tank’-style event where teams showcase their projects to a panel of experts and investors for awards and follow-up support.
Upon graduation, UToledo’s Center for Innovation provides on-going resources for former students set on launching their own start-up. The Launchpad Incubation program and Toledo’s own ‘Pitch & Pour’ venture-capital event eventually led 2014 Toledo engineering grad, Tom Burden, to successfully pitch his product — the Grypmat — for a US$360,000 investment on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Real-world application in real-world settings
Beyond the classroom, UToledo’s engineering student organizations provide opportunities for skill-building, collaboration and, of course, fun. These student groups have designed and built projects ranging from adaptive equipment for handicapped children to formula SAE race cars. And since Toledo students are known as the Rockets — there’s even a UT Rocketry Club, whose members are currently developing a missile that will fly a mile into the sky and deploy an autonomous rover as their entry in a national NASA-sponsored competition.
Toledo undergrads also apply the engineer’s passion for problem-solving to pressing global concerns — in particular, the need for clean water. Student-members of Engineers Without Borders (UTEWB) have made multiple trips to Honduras, working with local residents to develop water purification systems.
Leadership opportunities complete the UToledo engineering experience
Engineering students from all over the world discover that their choice of UToledo results in some surprising opportunities to grow into campus leaders.
George Lokko is one such student. “I am one of the 12 selected representatives in the College of Engineering who are part of the Roy and Marcia Armes Engineering Leadership Institute (ELI),” he says. “I was nominated by the bioengineering department, and then went through a rigorous evaluation process that included attending a mixer with the ELI founders, other members and College of Engineering leadership, as well as a personal interview with the dean of engineering,” he explains.
The ELI program also included training in the finer points of interpersonal business leadership. “Proper etiquette in various formal and informal business settings, professional ethics, project planning, conflict resolution, teamwork and entrepreneurship were all a part of the training I received through this distinguished organization,” he concludes, “and have shaped me into a fully-rounded engineering professional.”
When asked what she tells others about her experience at The University of Toledo, Daniela said, “I tell them about our beautiful campus, our great facilities and all the opportunities the University has given me to be successful in any aspect of life.” George added: “Don’t think twice. Apply now and watch how your dreams become a reality — and go, Rockets!”