Five groups of students graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder mechanical engineering senior design program are leaving with patents in their name.
"The amount of intellectual property in this program is massive," said program co-instructor Daria Kotys-Schwartz.
All of the more than 250 undergraduate and graduate students will come away having worked with one of nearly 30 paying industry clients for nine months, designing a product that a company would typically pay a professional big bucks to handle.
On Friday, the mechanical engineering students presented the projects that have consumed their senior year. Industry professionals, friends and family poured into the campus's Fleming Building and filled the Idea Forge — more than 50,000 square feet of hands-on learning space complete with tools, tables and everything that comes to mind when hearing the word "engineering classroom."
But Kotys-Schwartz said this kind of engineering education that breaks out of textbook learning and operates more like a business than a classroom is a rarity...