WE WANT YOUR CHALLENGES
Have some project ideas? See below for an overview of sponsorship and the first steps for submitting your project. What challenges do you or your organization have that could be addressed by Colorado’s next generation of engineering leaders?
Our search for engaging, real-world engineering design projects never stops. Every year, Capstone Design@Mines hosts nearly 100 student design teams who need great challenges. We launch projects in January and August and are eager to work with a variety of organizations spanning industry, nonprofits, and government. Capstone Design@Mines is a two-semester course sequence for the mechanical, electrical, civil, environmental, and general engineering degree programs, and occasional inclusion of Computer Science, Metallurgical & Material Engineering, and Chemical & Biological Engineering students. Project categories and challenge areas include:
- Space Resource Extraction
- Renewable Energy
- Adaptive Technology
- International Development
- Building Science
- Water Management
- Habitat Restoration
- Heavy Construction
- Power Systems
Capstone prepares students for the workforce by emphasizing:
- Project Management Skills
- Human-Centered Design
- Client-Consultant Engagements
WHAT MAKES A GREAT PROJECT?
Since this is the Capstone experience for our students, we are looking for projects with several key elements. A few of the most important ones include offering:
- a project with an engineering design scope that is broad enough to challenge a team of five students for two semesters (29 weeks specifically on the project),
- a challenge that allows consideration of multiple alternative solutions,
- a challenge that requires the students involved to directly apply their undergraduate course work, and,
- a project that will provide students with a positive and realistic professional practice experience.
For examples of great past projects, check out the Design Showcase program available on under the Design Showcase tab.
WHO MAKES A GREAT SPONSOR?
Our most successful sponsors contribute two essential items to our Capstone teams: time and mentorship.
Time commitment: Involvement of the sponsor is a key factor in the success of the project. Great project sponsors will commit one individual for approximately one hour every other week, and some sponsors commit to a weekly student engagement to support the student team. This is typically through videoconferencing or phone conferences, although in-person meetings are highly recommended.
Mentorship: Capstone sponsors offer valuable professional mentorship to students naturally through the client-consultant relationship by challenging assumptions, celebrating victories, and offering insight and expertise at design reviews. In addition, any training, subject matter experts, or on-site resources that you can make available to the students are greatly appreciated.
FIRST STEPS TO BECOMING A PROJECT SPONSOR
We want Capstone Design@Mines to be a great experience for both our students and our project sponsors. To help clarify needs and expectations on both ends early, we ask project sponsors to:
- Compile a brief project overview of the project you envision and a list of deliverables you expect. Click here for the template. You can find an example here for inspiration.
- Send your one-pager to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Consider attending a Capstone Design Showcase event prior to becoming a sponsor to learn what the students are capable of and to get a feel for the range of complexity and quality to expect from your team.
KEY PROGRAM DATES
Below are some important dates for the upcoming cycle of Capstone Design@Mines:
August 29, 2019 – Sponsor Project Expo at the Ben Parker Student Center, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.
- Although not required, attendance at the Project Expo is strongly recommended to ensure sufficient student interest in your project. Please inquire about details of this event.
September 5, 2019 – Project Kickoff on the Mines campus
- Please hold 8:00-11:00 a.m. on your calendar for the kickoff meeting with your assigned team. The students will contact you to arrange a time to meet for about an hour during that window.
April 23, 2020 – Capstone Design Showcase (open to the public) from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Current and prospective project sponsors are invited to view projects that started the previous fall. Student teams are presenting their work that has spanned a total of two semesters.
PROJECT SPONSORSHIP FEES
Project sponsors support Capstone Design@Mines through a sponsorship fee of $5,000 per project. Up to half of the fee goes directly to your team for purchasing project materials. Capstone Design@Mines uses the remainder to support program facilities and community development projects. Non-profit organizations and NGOs are eligible for a reduced fee of $500. Governmental agencies and Colorado School of Mines departments are not charged a fee. Please contact us for more information.
BENEFITS OF PROJECT SPONSORSHIP
Our past and current Capstone sponsors report myriad benefits of engaging with a team of talented Mines seniors:
- Students have access to the facilities and world-class faculty at Mines.
- Our multi-disciplinary team-building process pairs students with their areas of interest and their preferred project. Consequently, Capstone sponsors get to work with a group of engaged students with genuine interest in the company and its work.
- Over 900 person hours dedicated to your project across 29 weeks.
- Fresh eyes and minds focused on moving your project forward.
- Each team is assigned a Project Advisor (PA), who has extensive project management and execution experience. Their role is to guide the team toward major milestones and deliverables that include preliminary, intermediate and final design reports.
- Great exposure on campus for your company’s brand.
- Mentorship opportunities with the next generation of great engineering minds.
- An up-close and in-depth way to meet potential new employees before graduation.
STUDENTS WORKING TOWARD A PROFESSION IN ENGINEERING
The most successful partners recognize that the Capstone Design program is primarily an educational program. They:
- Choose projects from their “nice-to-have” list and avoid having students on their critical path.
- Select ambitious outcomes that include detailed drawings, calculations, stimulations and prototypes.
- Treat students like an entry-level engineer and plan on providing guidance throughout the process.
- View sponsoring a project as an outreach activity which helps train their junior engineers for management.
WANT TO KNOW MORE
If you would like to know more about the Capstone Design@Mines Program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us using the information on the Contact page.