Educators

UC San Diego: Sun, Surf and Autodesk® Inventor™

UCSD Provides the Perfect Climate for Leading-Edge Engineering Research

Don’t let San Diego’s idyllic weather and pristine beaches fool you into thinking its residents are all play and no work, especially when it comes to the hardworking students attending the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. The youngest and fastest rising among the nation’s top 15 engineering schools, the Jacobs School is a premier research institution with a strong entrepreneurial culture. With access to outstanding teachers and tools, including the world’s best-selling 3d mechanical design application, Autodesk® Inventor™ software, these young engineers are preparing well for the rigors of the workplace.

Inventing the Future
Dr. Nate Delson teaches mechanical and aerospace design at the Jacobs School of Engineering and credits the school’s collaboration with corporate partners for its real-world approach to teaching engineering fundamentals. Partnerships with industry, including Autodesk, help students gain experience with the same work using the tools that experienced professionals rely on.

Delson also applauds Autodesk’s Student Engineering and Design Community. This web portal allows students in the fields of mechanical engineering, industrial design, architecture, and civil engineering to have free* access to software and a variety of other services, including job searches, peer networking, and information from industry experts.

When it comes to the all-important technical and training support that educational institutions rely on for smooth programming, Autodesk continually receives praise from teachers and students around the world. “We are very pleased with Autodesk’s support,” says Delson. “They are always super-helpful, from training to product support.”

Inventor has been part of the Jacobs School’s curriculum for more than five years and is taught using both lecture and tutorial formats. It is also a major component of the quarterly robot competition, which also serves as the students’ final project in the Mae3 course.

Robots and Learning Come to Life
Over a two-month period, teams of students in Delson’s Mae3 course use Inventor software to design and build a machine using DC motors, solenoids, and rapid prototyping tools. These machines then compete against each other head to head.

Student Dor Ashur is now in his fourth year at the Jacobs School and competed in the robot contest two years ago. Having a real engineering challenge motivated him and his teammates by allowing them to apply their skills, including their new Inventor abilities, to something exciting and creative.

“I find Inventor very user-friendly and easy to understand,” says Ashur. “And being able to apply it in creating a robot is great hands-on experience.”

In the past, Delson had tried other software solutions for teaching this class, but when he started using Inventor, he knew he had found a good solution. “Inventor is easier to get started with than some of the competing software packages, and it has all the features we need,” he says.

Ashur currently does research with Delson, and teaches and tutors a section of the MAE3 class. He enjoys teaching his students Inventor from the ground up as well as mentoring them during the creation of their own award-winning robots.

Entrepreneurial Mission
Forbes magazine has referred to UCSD as a “Totally Wired U” and tells its readers that “to see where technology will take us tomorrow, enroll at UC San Diego today.” This praise goes hand in hand with the Jacobs School’s mission to educate tomorrow’s technology leaders, seek discoveries that fuel economic prosperity of the nation, and enhance the quality of life for people everywhere.

Focused on the future and located in the hub of San Diego’s technology industry, the school pursues a thriving research agenda and ranks third in the country for research expenditures per faculty member. Their alumni, 80 percent of whom live and work in California, are leaders in industry and academia.

“Partnering with companies like Autodesk helps keep our engineering tools relevant,” says Delson. “Our students are able to land incredible internship opportunities and feel confident with their skill set.”

Ashur couldn’t agree more and credits his experience with Inventor as essential in landing a recent internship at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“Students with a strong base in prominent tools in the industry, like Autodesk Inventor, find more doors open to them,” concludes Ashur.