Rowan University College of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Tech
As a student technologist, I assist students and faculty in the college of engineering. We work to provide services in multiple centers to better help our students.
ECE Resource Center
In the ECE resource center, we stock thousands of electrical components for students and professors to use for classes and projects. Student technicians assist students in the college to get all of the parts they need, keeping inventory of all parts and notifying department technicians when parts are running low. We also maintain smaller stocks of common parts in all ECE teaching labs so students have quick access to the parts they need without having to stop in.
This process has drastically changed over the time that I have worked for the department as another student and I developed a custom inventory system for the resource center that allows students and faculty to order parts online. This allows users to browse out entire selection of parts, view datasheets, stock levels, distributor information and more, so everybody knows exactly what part they are getting.
Parts can also have schematic symbols and PCB footprints added through the web interface to allow these parts to be used natively through our database library integration with Altium Designer. This provides users an easy drag and drop interface to add Rowan Library parts to their PCB projects, helping to cut down on the number of parts that we have to custom order for projects, while ensuring compatible footprints for users.
ECE Fabrication & Assembly Centers
In the assembly and fabrication centers, we create and assemble printed circuit boards (PCBs) for students and professors. PCBs are either ordered in, or are created in house using our PCB mill or PCB printer for rapid prototyping applications. We then solder components by hand for through hole components, or use paste and pick and place for surface mount boards. We also have a few 3D printers in the fabrication center for creating enclosures for PCBs or any other parts that are needed for projects.
To fix boards after reflow, I help other students with rework of their PCB as well as adding jumpers if needed. Through this work, I have learned to solder surface mount components by hand, and I am able to hand solder resistors down to 01005 (10 thousands of an inch by 5 thousandths of an inch) in size. This is the smallest component size in current production and is used in devices where space is at a premium (smartphones, watches & wearable electronics, etc).
Web Development Projects
As a student tech, I also work on projects to fill departmental needs. One of the main needs of the department was a way to manage the safety training of all students from registration, session sign-up, testing and certificate generation. Along with a small team of others created an online safety testing platform that handles all of the above requirements and more. This system will integrate into the machine lockout system that is currently in progress to be used in the MechE labs to ensure that only students with proper training can operate the large machines.
Other web development projects were launched after the success of the online safety training system such as online inventory tracking and ordering, an electronic worklog for ECE student staff, and online 3D print request submission and tracking.