Thanks to a generous $75,000 grant from the Harris Foundation, four multidisciplinary teams of engineering students were competitively selected to participate in a new, campus-based incubator program called the Villanova Summer Innovation Incubator (VSII). The Harris Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Harris Corporation, a leading provider of communications and information technology, led by Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer William M. (Bill) Brown ’84 ME, ’87 MSME , a member of the Engineering Advisory Board. “VSII is a program that takes young student engineers and turns them into the problem solvers of the future,” says Brown.
VSII is emblematic of the College of Engineering’s ongoing commitment to transform the way engineers are taught. Through this program, self-directed student teams engaged in the design process to address “real world” challenges, mirroring the practice of professional engineers. Working in an open, highly collaborative environment, teams pursued innovative solutions to unmet societal or technological needs of their choosing. Outside of weekly update meetings with their respective faculty mentors, students were responsible for managing all aspects of their projects, from initial design concept through delivery of a prototype. During their two-month innovation residency, they received stipends, free room and board, project budgets and access to labs and facilities.
On July 31, 2015, the inaugural VSII teams presented their work to an audience of College students, faculty and staff. Also in attendance was Harris’s campus brand ambassador, Brittany Ransbottom, an electrical engineer with Harris RF Communications. Drosdick Endowed Dean Gary A. Gabriele welcomed the attendees and thanked the Harris Foundation for making the program possible.