University of Louisville: Discover the power of hands-on learning at the Speed School
Promoted by University of Louisville

University of Louisville: Discover the power of hands-on learning at the Speed School

There’s a growing recognition that traditional classroom learning alone isn’t enough to prepare students for the challenges they’ll face in the real world. Hence, the University of Louisville,  J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s commitment to keeping its learning as experiential as it can be. They believe that true mastery of engineering concepts comes not just from lectures and textbooks, but from students getting their hands dirty and applying theory in practical, real-world settings. 

“One of my favorite parts about being in Speed School is that it really offers you the opportunity to do things outside of the classroom,” shares graduate Dariel Fuentes Brunelis. “I’ve been able to be part of Engineers Without Borders and through the co-op experience, I’ve also been able to understand what I have to do as an engineer.” 

With a vision of joining the oil industry, Dariel diligently pursued his goal, engaging with campus life and seizing opportunities to network with professors and industry groups like Engineers Without Borders and the Hispanic Society of Professional Engineers. His efforts paid off when he secured a coveted co-op rotation with Exxon Mobil. “I get to work at one of the largest refineries in the country, and I’m really going to be challenged to my core, so I’m really excited,” he said.

Meanwhile, his twin brother Damian’s co-op journey took him through three distinctive rotations. He delved into the world’s largest additive manufacturing center in Houston, the realm of medical polymer research and development, and process engineering for medical device manufacturing. His final rotation solidified his desire to work alongside others in a production facility, ultimately leading him to accept a position with Amazon as an operations manager for a delivery site in Dallas. 

University of Louisville

Source: University of Louisville J.B. Speed School of Engineering

The school’s co-operative education (co-op) program was designed to give students the chance to work alongside top employers, tackling real-world challenges and gaining experience that sets them apart in the job market. Students may earn up to US$34,000 after completing 3 co-op rotations. With beginnings that date back to nearly a century ago, the program has withstood the test of time, which explains how the Speed School now has partnerships with over 300 employers — think the likes of Siemens, NASA, Disney, Ford, Midea, UPS, Michelin, and Toyota.  

Indeed, the Speed School does an excellent job at helping students see themselves at the center of the action from day one — making it the ideal place for students with an entrepreneurial spirit. Tomas Felipe Llano-Rios is a prime example — his journey to Speed School began through a recommendation from a former boss, leading him from Colombia to the US. But he had no intention of letting his existing endeavors take a back seat.  

Drawing on his passion for coffee and technical abilities, he and his friends back home developed an app aimed at helping coffee growers market their products more effectively. His involvement in the app caught the attention of Speed School Technology Solutions, leading to a graduate assistant position focused on IT automation and data analysis. 

“I have learned a lot since I came to Speed School and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed,” he says. “Whether it’s with hardware or with software or any of those kind of things in engineering, I can just create new things, transform other ones, and just that process of taking ideas and putting them into practice, applying them and creating new things out of them is what I like the most about engineering.”  

Embed: Student Ambassador Liliana Martinez

Of course, students are never tasked to go about their ideas on their own. With the support of her mentors and the resources available at Speed School, Heba Elsayed Mohamed Kandil from Egypt authored several publications and made key contributions to her field. Experiential learning opened her mind to the power of computer science in improving healthcare outcomes. 

“The imaging lab I’m working with focuses on the collaboration between machine learning techniques and medical imaging analysis,” she shares. “I was interested in making a computer application that can help people to make their lives easier and healthier.” It’s easy to come to such realizations in a campus filled with sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment crucial to the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, microelectromechanical systems, robotics, 3-D printing and cleanroom technology.  

While both Kandil and Llano-Rios opted to pursue a PhD in Computer Science & Engineering, the Speed School recognizes that every student’s journey is unique, which is why there are specialized pathways tailored to individual interests and aspirations. The lineup currently consists of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Materials and Energy Science, Mechanical Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Transportation Engineering. To take your pick, click here

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