“…I employed 12 engineers at the peak of my business. All but one of these was employees was either an intern from the Department or was a Capstone project engineer with my company.”
I have known Dr. Sunak for many years and have worked closely with him during the many Capstone senior design projects I sponsored at my own company and later through SRI International. My experiences working with Dr. Sunak have been outstanding, and to see his dedication to enabling students’ expansion of their educational experiences in the Capstone senior design projects.
Dr. Sunak has been, and continues to be, the champion and leader for this important aspect of students’ experiential education. He has led the class from its initial elective status through its current position as a required component of the URI engineering programs. His dedication to the program has allowed the class to expand into many new and exciting project areas for the students so that their Capstone senior design projects can augment their in-class learning. With no cooperative work option at URI, and a dearth of local companies at which students can gain practical internship experience, the URI Capstone projects offer a unique and valuable opportunity for students to hone their engineering skills and learn about real-world engineering problems.
Through Dr. Sunak’s efforts, the Capstone senior design experience has provided significant educational benefit for the Departments’ students. The act of finding meaningful projects for all the students is daunting enough. Dr. Sunak not only seeks out and finds projects, but he also strives to match each student’s interests and skills with the projects so that they are challenged, but not deflated, in the results of their project. By taking the time to understand each student’s needs and objectives, Dr. Sunak has allowed the Capstone experience to expand the students’ capabilities and application of their more formal classroom material.
While the Capstone experience is important to the students, it is also important to the University’s mission to provide educated workers for the state’s businesses. Under Dr. Sunak’s guidance, the students not only learn to apply their engineering skills but they also get an opportunity to learn about how professionals operate in the engineering field. This dual emphasis allows graduates to work with in-state companies to learn first-hand of the opportunities available to them in Rhode Island. As a small business owner, I employed 12 engineers at the peak of my business. All but one of these was employees was either an intern from the Department or was a Capstone project engineer with my company. Dr. Sunak’s leadership of the Capstone senior design projects has led to many successful pairings at other companies as well. The value of this connection making cannot be overstated.
I feel that Dr. Harish Sunak’s contributions to the URI engineering students and Rhode Island businesses through the Capstone senior design projects have been extraordinarily valuable. These efforts have helped URI graduates and Rhode Island businesses in many ways.
Lewis Collier, Ph. D., Computer Science, URI Class of 2014.