The Spring 2023 semester and my junior year has officially ended! A lot happened this semester, so I thought that I would summarize it here.
I took a few different classes this semester:
CEC 315: Signals & Systems
EP 391/391L: Microcomputers & Electronic Instrumentation Class/Lab
EP 394: Space Systems Engineering
ME 200: Machine Shop Laboratory
SYS 560: Introduction to Systems Engineering Management
Compared to previous semesters, this one was pretty light class-wise.
CEC 315 was a great class with very useful topics and a great professor. The class had no deliverables other than two midterms. The second exam/midterm was not technically a final exam, so it did not happen during ‘finals week’ which really helps to spread the load out for many people. The professor is also very reasonable with exam questions, grades, and lecture material in general, so the midterms were not too stressful.
EP 391/391L was definitely more of a challenging class, but the final project was a great way for students to combine things learned during the semester. There were some exams towards the beginning of the semester, but no final exam. The final project was only given during the last approximately two weeks, so there was definitely a ‘crunch time’ there. However, the product was great. My team designed a device that would basically use serial communication, a stepper motor, and LabVIEW amongst other tools to follow a light source and output live graphs with information such as temperature, battery voltage, and device angle.
EP 394 is mostly a project class. We still had weekly lectures on topics ranging from control systems and class mechanics to spaceflight dynamics and orbits with mini quizzes, but our main grade stemmed from our project. We had free reign to choose our space-related project topic and our group, and then any resources we needed were provided by the Physics department and lab. This class also took into account that many of our projects were large endeavors and could only get a certain amount done within a semester. Overall, lots of work, but it was super rewarding, fun, and the grading scale was very reasonable. My team was designing a floatable platform that would use a camera for vision processing and microthrusters to control and test and vehicle with a control system that could be used for satellite attitude control in space. We received a very good grade for our progress including simulations, CAD models, vision processing code, communication systems, and pneumatic systems among a few things.
ME 200 was very fun. Grades were purely attendance-based, and this was something I never wanted to miss. It was once a week for about 2-3 hours and consisted of learning then doing all sorts of things like riveting, drilling, band saw usage, and more.
SYS 560 was a good class. I was taking this one to count towards my masters degree. No big exams were given, just about one homework per week, some in-class activities, and a final project. The final project was not too large, and it combined what we learned fairly well. We basically had to draw out a schedule plan for eight different programs with overlapping resources to be finished as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Overall, it was a good semester! I am writing this from a location (TBA in the next post) where I am visiting family before my internship begins. A few days ago, I also finished up my research job remotely and plan to find out what my next research project (for next semester) will be over the Summer.
For now, I’ll end this here and save my next blog post to tell more about what I have been doing since the semester has ended and things to expect this Summer!