Flint — The University of Michigan-Flint is responding to a growth in its engineering program by investing in high-tech equipment for the students.
Engineering enrollment has doubled since 2008 and now stands at 320 students, according to The Flint Journal. To meet the demand, the school has acquired a $75,000 microscope that magnifies objects 60,000 times and expects to get a $100,000 three-dimensional printer. The department also is hiring two new professors.
“Engineering is growing at a rapid pace. We want to have more equipment available to the students,” physics and engineering professor Mojtaba Vaziri told the newspaper. “The whole purpose of this is we like to educate and introduce high-tech equipment to the students.”
The new scanning electron microscope will help students take a closer look at materials such as cells or a heated piece of metal to look for cracks.
“It has a lot of use in industry,” Vaziri said. “The students learn the use of this. When they go out they can claim they know how to use this. They can put it on their resume.”
Jeremy Munsell, 29, of Linden and Trang Nguyen, 23, of Howell, have used the microscope for a physics research project.
“I think it will give the students great research and experience,” Munsell said. “I feel competitive with students from much larger schools.”
The school expects to get the 3D printer next month. It would do away with building items by hand with a hammer, Vaziri said.
“The fact that we are growing rapidly, it’s helping us to have more funds available,” Vaziri said. “We can compete with other engineering programs.”
More growth is planned in the future.
“Our limitation is space,” Vaziri said.
“People are learning about the University of Michigan quality. … That goes a long way,” he said. “Engineering has become popular. Now that we are offering it here it’s more accessible to students.”