Adams State engineers a new path for students

Courier photo by John Waters Adams State University undergraduate student Dain Romero is enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at the school.

ALAMOSA — Adams State University faculty and staff held an open house in the Engineering Manufacturing Education Center facility that enables students in the San Luis Valley to complete an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering without leaving Alamosa. The university has partnered with Colorado State University in the program.

Ken Marquez, who is the project director at the EMAC said the facility cost $1.4 million to construct and boasts $5 million work of cutting-edge equipment. Those expenses were covered by a $5.0 million Title Three U.S. Department of Education HSI—STEM (Hispanic Serving Institution, Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) grant. The funds cover five years of expenses for the university.

The facility includes a jet engine that according to Matt Nehring, Ph.D. and Department Chair of Engineering and Computer Science at ASU, enables students to, "Learn about the thermodynamic processes. It is great when we fire it up and it is very impressive. We make real measurements on the thrust it generates and what are the thermodynamic processes." Nehring added the EMAC has other engines to conduct similar tests.

Dain Romero, a student from Antonito who is in his second year in the program, said of the program, "It is really math-heavy and very satisfying to learn all of this new technology. To bridge the gap between the theoretical and the physical world is really cool. As you can see, it is high-tech and interesting to see how all of these machines work." Romero said that after graduation he is interested in robotics.

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