SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – In the 15 years since Dr. Douglas Carroll became the founding director of Missouri S&T’s cooperative engineering program with Missouri State University, he has seen hundreds of civil and electrical engineering students graduate with bachelor’s degrees.
In May, he will see the first group of mechanical engineering students taking courses in Springfield graduate with degrees from Missouri S&T. Fifteen students are currently on track to graduate.
“Having this program has been rewarding,” Carroll says. “Bringing a new program to campus is a lot of work. It involves teaching every course for the first time, and there are always challenges, but the first graduating class is special.”
Carroll, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering for S&T, says he felt the same way when the first groups of electrical engineering and civil engineering students finished their bachelor’s degrees in 2012.
“We offer a great set of programs in Springfield,” he says. “This is a cooperative program with MSU, so students take engineering courses through S&T and non-engineering courses through MSU. Our students take the same engineering classes they would in Rolla and have highly-qualified professors here as well.”
S&T’s Springfield faculty members are also actively researching a variety of topics, including fiber-reinforced concrete, machine learning technology, electrochemistrty and renewable energy, and pollution prevention for manufacturing companies.
Carroll says Missouri S&T established the partnership with MSU in 2008, but the word could still be spread more about what the Springfield program has to offer.
“Missouri S&T is the state’s premiere engineering school, and our cooperative engineering program allows students to have a premiere engineering education in Southwest Missouri,” he says. “There are no other engineering programs in the region, so we fill an important niche, which students and employers alike appreciate.”
The S&T classes meet in the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center in downtown Springfield, which houses multiple classrooms and laboratories for the three engineering programs. Students gain hands-on experiences in these labs, as well as in internships throughout the Springfield region.
“Almost all of our junior and senior students have an internship, and they are all paid well,” Carroll says. “Students work part time at engineering firms during the school year and full time in the summer. We have a great relationship with the companies that hire engineers.”
Internship sites include Anderson Engineering, Toth and Associates, Associated Electric, Springfield City Utilities, Missouri Department of Transportation, City of Springfield and several other public and private organizations in the Springfield area.
Carroll says this graduating class will also be special to him for another reason.
“After this summer, I intend to no longer be director,” he says. “I plan to become a full-time mechanical engineering faculty member once again. Working in this role has been a wonderful experience, but it will be time to turn over the reins to another person.”
As a Springfield native, Carroll says he has appreciated the opportunity to be a part of bringing an engineering program to Springfield.
“I started my education at SMSU—now MSU—in the 1970s, and a number of us wanted to study engineering at that time,” he says. “If this program had been available, we would have studied engineering at SMSU.”
“I am very grateful that I have been able to serve as the director and help the program get started. Both universities have been so supportive, and it has really meant a lot to me.”
To learn more about the cooperative mechanical engineering program, visit mae.mst.edu/academic-programs/cooperative-engineering-program.
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.