Mechanical engineering is by far the broadest of the engineering disciplines. Which helps explain why it is the most enrolled discipline at Auburn University, with a total of 957 students currently in the college of mechanical engineering (Auburn.edu). So.
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with it being the most popular branch of engineering at Auburn, and the most broad, one might wonder what mechanical engineers do that is pulling all these future engineers to it. Mechanical engineers, shockingly, work and design to manufacture small components of mechanical machinery, and also that of large systems (What is Mechanical Engineering?). However, mechanical engineers are much more than a car mechanic, what some might think of when they hear mechanical engineering, rather they are much more than that; while mechanical engineers can work on cars and engineers, much like a car mechanic, the bigger role they play is taking an idea or product from the drawing board and bringing it to life for commercial production (What is Mechanical Engineering?).
Systems that mechanical engineers might touch are those that typically deal with: motion, structures, force dynamics, energy and thermal systems, and even material structures (Introduction to Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University); although, mechanical engineers are not limited to those work areas or fields of study. In general, those who obtain a degree in mechanical engineering, work to design machines that produce power. These machines vary, but are not limited to, electric generators, internal and external combustion enginesthis includes the work done by steam or gas-powered turbinesalong with machines that consume power, such as households’ appliances and elevators (Mechanical Engineers).
A degree in engineering is very lucrative if you are in it for the money, although that should not be the main reason one might seek a career in engineering. Mechanical engineers can expect to have a starting salary of around 40 thousand dollars, and in due time, they can look at making about 115 thousand dollars a year (Mechanical Engineer Salary). The average person graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering is looking at earning about 78 thousand dollars a year (Mechanical Engineer Salary). While this mechanical engineering is not the highest paid engineering discipline, petroleum engineers is the most lucrative discipline with a starting salary of 75 thousand dollars, they are the second largest branch of engineering that is currently employed in the united states (The Most In-Demand Engineering Jobs). So, if one is looking for a job straight out of college, and using that as a determinant in which discipline they choose, mechanical engineering can make that happen. With there are currently being around 264,000 mechanical engineers employed, as of 2014 (The Most In-Demand Engineering Jobs).
While pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University, there are a multitude of interest and areas of focus inside the major. Areas of focus and interest include, but are not limited, are design and manufacturing, measurements: fluid mechanics, stresses and strains, motion and deformation, controlsGAVLAB, and HVACheating, ventilation, and air conditioning (Intro to Mech). In order to pursue these areas of interest inside Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering major, one must make their way to Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and more specifically the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology and Wiggins Hall (Auburn.edu). The Shelby Center and Wiggins hall is where the Mechanical Engineering program at Auburn is centered, and where most of your classes inside the major will be held, not including pre-mechanical. Undergraduate teaching labs and facilitates can be found at Auburn’s Advanced Engineering Research Lab (Auburn.edu). The student to faculty ratio of Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering program is around 3 to 1, students to faculty (Auburn.edu). There is a total of 50 faculty members in the college, with 33 tenured staff, 31 full time teaching (Auburn.edu). With such a great ratio of students to faculty, once in the college of Mechanical Engineering, students can expect hands on instruction with plenty of opportunities to work with faculty one on one. This allows for faculty to really get to know the undergraduates and thus creating a more personable and encouraging work environment. Being able to work with faculty so closely while studying undergraduate, opens the door for multiple opportunities to conduct research with such faculty members. The research conducted inside the college of Mechanical Engineering is centered around four main technical topics: Thermal Sciences, Design and Manufacturing, System Dynamics and Controls, and Mechanics (Research and Outreach). Students often apply for positions to conduct research with faculty, but with the student to faculty ratio being what it is, faculty can often ask students to help them in their research, since they get to know the students so well in classes.
The curriculum for any discipline of engineering at Auburn is quite tough and rigorous. Before entering the college of one’s choose, they must first complete all the perquisite coursesfocused on math and science. In order to enter Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering school, one must pass multiple math classes- including all three calculus’s, linear differential equations, and topics in linear algebra- and multiple science classesincluding Engineering Physics 1 and 2 and Fundamentals of Chemistry (Curriculum in Mechanical Engineering). Once one has completed all their prerequisite classes, they are then able to move into the college of Mechanical Engineering. Once in the college, they will take classes such as: Statics and Dynamics, Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines, Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, System Dynamics and Controls, and many more (Curriculum). Undergraduate students are also required to complete a senior design sequence in which four cross-disciplinary teams must work together to design and create vehicles that compete in endurance and speed-based races (Ongoing Student Projects). One senior design team of Auburn’s is the SOL solar car team, every year this team participates in cross-country races against students from other schools (Ongoing). The senior design sequence consists of student teams that work to develop industry-sponsored design solutions to problems engineers are facing in the real world today (Samuel Ginn – Mechanical Engineering).
The student engagement in the college of Mechanical Engineering is very high and comes with a multitude of options to choose from. With the mechanical engineering department focusing its research on – Thermal Sciences, Design and Manufacturing, System Dynamics and Controls, and Mechanicsthere are plenty of opportunities for students to engage and help conduct research with its faculty (Research and Outreach). If a student is seeking to conduct research with a faculty member, one can often ask them if there is any research they are working on at the time, or they can go to Faculty Directory on Aubrn.edu for more information about current research performed by Mechanical Engineering faculty (Research and Outreach). There is also the possibility that faculty might ask students directly to help them with research, as mentioned before.
Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering major also hosts a number of student teams that compete on the regional, national and international scale (Ongoing). One of these student teams is the SOL solar car team, as mentioned before, as well as two SAE Mini Baja all-terrain vehicle teams. The SAE Mini Baja teams work to design and build an off-road racing car each year, in an attempt to find the perfect balance of strength, speed and endurance (Welcome to Auburn Off Road). Every year the SAE Mini Baja team builds a car, capable of maneuvering over rough terrain and even water, and takes it to competition where their builds are tested for adaptability, skill, stamina, and the engineering ability of the team (Welcome to). These off road vehicles are designed by students, built by students -with help from corporate partners and private citizens- and raced at competitions by students (Welcome to). Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering students also have a Formula SAE team, which is much like the SAE Mini Baja team, where students design and build cars similar to that of Formula 1 and IndyCars and race them at competitions nationwide (Auburn University Formula SAE).
The Mechanical Engineering Department at Auburn has many study areas and computer labs opened to students in the college. There are currently eight computer labs that can be used by students, staff and faculty from every engineering discipline (Computer Labs). These computer labs are open all hours of the day, every day of the week that classes are in session. In addition to the eight computer labs, there are 20 department labs that house workstations for students within that particular department (Computer Labs). Students in Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering major are advised by Dr. Sushil Bhavnanu (Academic Advising). Prior to entering the college of Mechanical Engineering, students will be advised by Belinda Marable who deals with pre-mechanical engineering students (Meet Our Staff).
Auburn’s Mechanical Engineering departments hosts a number of professional societies and clubs inside the major. The professional societies include: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) (Introduction to).
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