Harvey Mudd Presents 2022 Milestone Awards

Five organizations are being honored by Harvey Mudd College for participating in its Clinic Program and for investing in students and the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Microsoft, Amazon Lab126, Doosan Bobcat, Georg Fischer Signet and Millennium Space Systems are sponsors of the Clinic Program, an internationally recognized hallmark of Harvey Mudd College that engages juniors and seniors in the solution of real-world, technical problems for industrial clients. Each year, more than 40 organizations, many with HMC alumni employees who support the Clinic Program as liaisons and advisors, work with approximately 250 students to develop solutions to business challenges and push forward the industry standard in research and development or build a working prototype. The business value of the Clinic outcomes often leads sponsors to return.

Returning Clinic sponsors are recognized for every five projects with the Milestone Award.

15 Clinic Projects

Microsoft, producer of computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers and related services, has been an HMC Clinic sponsor since 1990. Its latest challenge to Harvey Mudd students involves diversifying Microsoft’s image recommendations in PowerPoint Designer. Using machine learning and clustering techniques, the student team recognized concrete and abstract features that images can share. Computer science alumna Sarah (Ferraro) Stein ’12, a senior software engineering manager at Microsoft, served as a liaison this year.

10 Clinic Projects

The San Francisco Bay Area research and development company Amazon Lab126 designs and engineers high-profile consumer electronic devices. Among its projects are new audio algorithms for Amazon devices. The Clinic team developed an autonomous robotic platform to collect audio data in a household environment using accurate localization and navigation. Engineering alumnus Phil Hilmes ’98 serves as a Clinic facilitator and is director of audio technology at Amazon Lab126.

Five Clinic Projects

Doosan Bobcat is a leading global manufacturer of construction, agriculture, landscaping and grounds maintenance equipment, attachments and services. For its project this academic year, liaisons asked students to equip an autonomous Bobcat riding mower with mapping and obstacle avoidance. The 2021–2022 student Clinic team utilized mapping algorithms from a previous Bobcat Clinic team and optimized the mower’s route, mowing pattern and obstacle avoidance. Engineering alumnus Scott Park ’87 is president and CEO of Doosan.

Georg Fischer Signet, manufacturer of plastic and metal piping systems, asked this year’s Clinic team for help designing a sensor to measure the concentration of total active ions in ultrapure water applications. The students improved the sensor’s novel algorithm and developed a real-time implementation compatible with existing conductivity sensor hardware. Physics alumnus Colter Downing ’19, a project manager at GF, served as a liaison.

Millennium Space Systems creates reliable, low-cost satellite products for NASA, National Security Space and commercial customers. To aid Millennium’s development of an optical precision timing instrument, the student team designed an opto-mechanical structure and developed repeatable assembly procedures for precision optics.

The Clinic Program

Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and a company liaison, students work in teams of four or five to develop solutions to unsolved problems presented by sponsoring organizations. Applying their learning in creative ways, HMC students then present their solutions. Companies retain all intellectual property rights that arise out of the project, and it is not uncommon for HMC students to be named on patents.

During the 2021–2022 academic year, students undertook 46 Clinic projects related to engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics. Several projects also have a social justice or international (Global Clinic) focus. Since 1963, Harvey Mudd students have tackled challenging problems in nearly 1,700 Clinic projects for more than 500 clients, many of them Fortune 1000 companies.

Established as an innovation in engineering education in 1963, Clinic has been expanded to other HMC academic departments and copied by institutions worldwide. The National Academy of Engineering recognized the program and three HMC faculty members—Clive L. Dym, M. Mack Gilkeson and J. Richard Phillips—with the 2012 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education “for creating and disseminating innovations in undergraduate engineering design education to develop engineering leaders.”