Reprinted from 32nd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings, November 6, 2002, pages 23-27.
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NOTE: At the time of publication, the author William W. Durgin was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The WP/IGSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center) Projects Program is an off-campus, multi-disciplinary opportunity for students to complete their capstone design project requirement during 10 weeks of on-site project work. Students accepted into this program are required to spend one term in a project preparation course where they carry out background research, interact with their project mentor(s) at the space center, and write a detailed project proposal. At the completion of the preparation course and several weeks before the start of the following academic year, the students relocate to the Washington area and work full time for ten weeks on their projects at the Goddard Space Flight Center. This project center is at the forefront of the WPI emphasis on "real world" project experience as a cornerstone of its undergraduate educational plan. Among other benefits, this off-campus program clearly demonstrates that significant contributions can be expected from WPI student teams working on complex engineering and science projects.