Experiential learning is an integral part of the Harvey Mudd College experience and, each spring, the entire College community celebrates students’ original projects in design or research. This celebration of student achievement includes Presentation Days (May 2 and 4), showcasing senior thesis research and class projects, and Projects Day, May 3, a showcase of projects in the Clinic Program. All presentations are free and open to the public.
“Harvey Mudd students grapple with real-world problems through individual and group projects across all disciplines, and professors use open-ended projects as powerful teaching tools that promote learning well beyond the classroom and the laboratory,” says Jeff Groves, vice president and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty. “For many Harvey Mudd students, these projects provide a first glimpse at the depth of a chosen field, allow them to explore an intellectual passion and provide them with the skills to continue learning on their own long after they’ve left Harvey Mudd.”
Each year, more than 200 students participate in Presentation Days, and every department at the College is well represented. From groundbreaking individual research done by graduating seniors to engaging and eye-opening design projects done by first-year students, the emphasis throughout Presentation Days is on student achievement.
Senior chemistry students are addressing such issues as safety concerns around irrigation water used from oil production sources as well as the limitations of dye-sensitized solar cells. Math theses presentations include an analysis of locust swarms, mathematical models of blood coagulation, and an assessment procedure for screening and treating chlamydia. In physics, one student will present work on a tissue-engineered brain patch, and another will describe how communication security can be improved by encoding messages in quantum-mechanically entangled photons. For her senior thesis about stem cell behavior in plants, a biology student will share how cell division in the meristem is regulated. Groups presenting on Wednesday will cover such topics as transforming a manufacturing company, ethical issues in science and engineering, custom digital integrated circuits, rapid skateboard prototyping, and development of a long-lasting solar charging station.
Harvey Mudd College celebrates these and many more projects Monday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A jazz concert Wednesday at 8 p.m., performed by students in the Jazz Improvisation class, highlights the work of noted bebop composer Tadd Dameron.
Clinic Program/Projects Day
On Tuesday, May 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., the College celebrates the outstanding work of students participating in its renowned Clinic Program, an internationally recognized hallmark of Harvey Mudd College that engages juniors and seniors in solving contemporary technical problems for corporate, national laboratory and agency sponsors. Founded as an innovation in engineering education in 1963, Clinic is a collaborative program between industry and the College that offers a unique educational experience for students that is a cornerstone of the Harvey Mudd curriculum.
This year, 44 student teams will share their solutions to challenges posed to them by 39 corporate sponsors, many of which have sponsored numerous Clinic projects with the College. Six of these sponsors will be honored for participation milestones:
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory celebrates 25 projects since 1980
- BD (formerly CareFusion), a sponsor since 2005, celebrates 15 projects
- Intel Corporation celebrates 15 projects since 1984
- Laserfiche celebrates 10 projects since 2002
- City of Hope celebrates its fifth and sixth projects
- Ray Donelick P15, who first sponsored a project in 2011 with his company Apatite to Zircon Inc., sponsors his fifth project this year with his new company, BiMBy Power Co. LLC
Since the Clinic Program’s inception, more than 1,500 projects have been completed for over 450 corporate, national laboratory and agency sponsors. Companies retain all intellectual property rights that arise out of the project, and it is not uncommon for Harvey Mudd students to be named on patents. In recent years, Clinic sponsors have averaged between 10 and 15 patent disclosures at the end of their projects.
Nationally, there are more than 100 colleges and universities that have adopted a capstone program similar to Clinic. Schools from around the world continue to visit Harvey Mudd College to gain valuable insights on establishing their own program, most recently Singapore Institute of Technology and Habib University, Pakistan.