CAEST introduces new engineering concentration

Elizabeth Randolph

The College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology recently introduced a new concentration to the applied engineering major called mechatronics.

Darwin Boyd, assistant professor in the college, said mechatronics is a concentration that combines mechanical, electrical and computer technologies. Boyd said the program became official in fall 2013.

“The program had developed over the past year because you have to be that far ahead when you develop stuff like that,” Boyd said. “It was developed with a lot of industry input, especially [from] Rockwell Automation and other companies as well.  We also have a very active advisory board that provides input and programs for us.”

Boyd said the concentration shouldn’t affect applied engineering students wishing to change to mechatronics early in their college careers.

“As long as students have the background, it’s not a problem,” Boyd said. “The mechatronics has a little bit more rigorous requirements in math and physics. If you stay on the roadmap, you shouldn’t have a problem graduating in four years.”

Roberto Uribe, a professor in the college, said he was one of the CAEST faculty members who helped bring the mechatronics concentration to Kent State. He said developing the concentration took many steps.

“There is some work involved in getting a concentration in,” Uribe said. “Some research needs to be done, lab equipment [needs purchased], and you have to get faculty interested in the area.”

Uribe said that recently hired faculty developed a robotics club, which will be involved in many activities in the mechatronics area.

“The main activity for the robotics club is to build a robot and bring it to a statewide competition at the end of the year,” Uribe said. “We have never participated in this competition before because we didn’t have any students that were interested like we do now.”

Daniel Kish, a senior industrial technology major, is the leader of the robotics club and said that mechatronics fascinates him.  

“When I first heard of mechatronics, it was like kind of a weird word, but the Wikipedia page alone is enough to sell you on it,” Kish said. “I thought about making it my concentration for my undergrad, but now I’m just going to join the mechatronics graduate program possibly.”

Kish said that concentrations like mechatronics lead to beneficial careers after college.

“It might intimidate some people on a first glance, but people need to actually look into it,” Kish said. “If you just connect the dots about what you study in this program compared to what the job listings say and how you will get your money back that you dumped into college.”

Boyd said that the future for mechatronics students is bright during and after their time at Kent State.

“The money the students will make after college will be the kind of money to pay back the loans with and raise a family on, and that’s very rewarding,” Boyd said. “This program is the kind of program that industries like Rockwell are looking at and are interested in. We’re very hopeful that the students will go out and make very good livings and will have a very high rate of employment. That’s the real goal.”

Contact Elizabeth Randolph at [email protected].