For Jacqueline Gowdy ’11, her engineering studies capstone project was so much more than just another assignment.
“This project has taught me how to handle things professionally, how to lead a group of my peers, and how to collaborate and cooperate with individuals who think or work differently than myself,” she says.
The goal of the capstone course is for students to incorporate everything they have learned during their four years at Lafayette into a project for an actual client. Gowdy and 22 classmates gained real-world, hands-on experience doing design work for Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville, Pa. Gowdy served as a project manager, and the team was advised by Sharon Jones, professor of civil and environmental engineering.
“I never thought I would have an opportunity to work with other students in this capacity, let alone be a project manager. It has been a challenge, to say the least, but I have learned so much,” says Gowdy.
The team worked directly with general manager Charles Blier and other Camelback employees to design a five-year capital projects and financial plan for the resort. The students visited the resort numerous times to inspect the buildings and identify the scope of the project. The goal was to come up with the best solution for Camelback’s various systems and equipment needs and prioritize them into a feasible and efficient plan.
“We have learned that while working on projects like this, there is a lot that is left out of your control,” says project manager Brian Thomsen ’11, who graduated in May with an A.B. with majors in engineering studies and economics. “It has been a great way to learn for ourselves, as well as with the assistance of Professor Jones, about project management and consulting work.”
Other students working on the project included Souhail Amhal ’11, Kareem Clarke ’11, Elizabeth Comontofski ’11, Donald Ellis ’11, Robert Fox ’11, Patrick Grinaway ’11, Anna Gruver ’11, Timur Hubey ’11, Lewis Hunt-Irving ’11, Lauren Jackson ’11, Elizabeth Mancuso ’11, Martin Melendro ’11, Alex Parzych ’11, Zurisadai Robert ’11, Kevin Rose ’11, Sheena Seopaul ’11, Rodolfo Silva ’11, Daniel Spieler ’11, Benjamin Swartout ’11, Jaclyn Traina ’11, and Matthew Zwingraf ’11.
Gowdy, who graduated with an A.B. with majors in engineering studies and international affairs, has a passion for environmental policy. She believes that her experiences with this capstone project will help her as she begins a job in Glastonbury, Conn., with an energy audit company working to design its sustainability approach.
“Thanks to this project I feel much more prepared for the future. I loved the opportunity to learn in this capacity. I hope someday to be doing this work for a living,” she says.