INVESTING IN INNOVATION: THE PIONEERING SPIRIT OF HPU’S WEBB SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
Inside a completely transformed facility, High Point University’s first cohort of engineering majors find opportunities they wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Their academic school — the Webb School of Engineering — is a part of HPU’s Innovation Corridor. The corridor represents a $250 million investment in faculty, technology and facilities that foster the university’s STEM programs.
They learn from Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence who serves on the engineering school’s advisory board.
They place highly in national cybersecurity competitions, receive one-on-one mentorship from their professors and have the chance to be true pioneers in the world of engineering.
Just ask Aidan Kelley, a sophomore and one of HPU’s first-ever engineering majors.
Born to be an Engineer
Before he could even walk, Kelley was bringing his dreams to life. From creating small cities with LEGOs and Thomas the Tank Engine pieces, to helping his dad renovate their family home, the inquisitive, problem-solving nature intrinsic to engineers has always been with him.
Kelley always knew he wanted to come to HPU. However, when he heard the university was starting an engineering program, he jumped at the chance to be one of the first electrical engineering students.
“I went for it. I knew I wanted to do something hands-on in the world of science, and engineering has a lot to offer,” says Kelley. “Engineering affects every aspect of our lives.”
As part of HPU’s Innovation Corridor, the Webb School of Engineering prepares students for the world as it is going to be.
“In the time I’ve spent on campus, I’ve found that transformation at HPU is second nature,” Wozniak says. “HPU students will be builders. That makes the Webb School of Engineering a great addition to HPU’s excellent academic programs.”
Creating New Curriculum
Dr. Michael Oudshoorn, founding dean, and Dr. Claire McCullough, licensed professional engineer, professor and founding chair of electrical and computer engineering, agree.
As Herbert Hoover once stated, “to the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort and hope.”
With a combined experience of over six decades as educators and more than 15 years each working in accreditation, Oudshoorn and McCullough look forward to growing the Webb School of Engineering and creating the innovators of tomorrow.
“Engineering tops the list of majors with the highest average starting salary,” says McCullough. “From NASA to Disney, engineers have the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, in any industry.”
While many schools have general engineering programs, High Point University provides discipline-specific degrees.
“This requires meeting more stringent accreditation criteria, and I regard it as a more valuable degree,” says McCullough.
“Having discipline-specific programs opens doors for our students and makes them more employable.”
Combining the existing computer science major with new discipline-specific programs in computer engineering and electrical engineering, Oudshoorn notes how they all play a critical role in shaping our everyday lives but must also work together.
“Think about your phone,” says Oudshoorn. “All of the software is developed by those specializing in computer science. The hardware, like the chips and circuits, are produced by the computer engineers, while the electrical engineer brings the device to life with power, antennas and telecommunication systems.”
You can’t build a device that doesn’t require a large number of disciplines talking to each other. That’s why it’s important for students to collaborate and have a well-equipped space to do so.
“All of us in the program get to decide how we can be successful. Like right now, we’re creating a makerspace to help educate new engineers coming behind us,” says Kelley.
“There’s a lot of freedom in knowing that the school has created the best environment and given us the tools we need to be successful.”
Already finding ways to utilize the makerspace, it’s typical to find students working on class assignments or experimenting with the state-of-the-art equipment, from 3D printers to computer-controlled routers.
Rising to the Occasion
Ethan Shealey, a sophomore computer science major, has already experienced how having resources like these facilities can lead to success. He, along with other computer science students, including Ty Carlson, a senior computer science and physics double major, competed in the 2019 Governor’s Cybersecurity Talent Competition using the knowledge they acquired in the computer science program.
In the first round of the cybersecurity program, Carlson received a perfect score.
Meanwhile, Shealey was one of 24, out of about 2,300 participating students across the nation, to receive a perfect score in the second round and was awarded scholarship money.
“Ty encouraged me to participate in this competition,” says Shealey. “I’m glad I did because now I have real-world experience that will help me better understand the lessons I will be taught in my engineering classes.”
Students in the Webb School of Engineering can elect cybersecurity as a concentration within the computer science major.
“We are very proud of Ty and Ethan for their achievements in this competition and commitment to understanding cybersecurity,” says Dr. Will Suchan, chair and associate professor of computer science. “Cybercrime is a scourge on modern society that demands intelligent and ethical people to fight back. HPU understands this and has invested in faculty and labs to produce a highly-educated cyber workforce for the future of our state and nation.”
Regardless of whether students prefer computer science, electrical engineering or computer engineering, HPU allows students to hone in on their specific interests.
“I see potential, and I see growth,” says Kelley. “I see the future of our community, our school and other majors. This is our space, and we can make it what we want.”
HIGH POINT, N.C., February 10, 2020 – Today, High Point University students had the opportunity to learn from Apple Co-Founder and HPU’s Innovator in Residence Steve Wozniak.
Kicking the day off with an interactive Q&A session in HPU’s Webb School of Engineering, Wozniak shared advice with students on finding your passion and harnessing it to move the world forward.
“There are some things that grab you with a passion,” said Wozniak. “For me, that passion is finding ways to help people.”
As an engineer himself, Wozniak also spoke with students about innovation.
“Continuously look for a different way to do things,” said Wozniak. “I’ve always been good at taking things I didn’t know and figuring out how to use them. As engineers, we build new things and new things always move us forward.”
Faculty from HPU’s Webb School of Engineering moderated the discussion, including the school’s dean Dr. Michael Oudshoorn, founding chair and associate professor of electrical engineering Dr. Claire L. McCullough, founding chair and associate professor of computer science Dr. Will Suchan and Dr. Briana Fiser, Associate Professor of Physics and department chair.
“Having Wozniak as HPU’s Innovator in Residence is an amazing opportunity for students,” said Oudshoorn. “Providing open forums and exposing students to global leaders like Wozniak inspires them to become entrepreneurs, gets them thinking about the technology they are working with and how it should be used in society. This is an opportunity you don’t get at any other university.”
Students asked Wozniak about discipline, motivation and where he sees technology going in the future.
“Having Wozniak here shows us what we can become,” said freshman engineering student Aidan Kelley. “No other university provides students the opportunity to engage with leaders at this level. We were able to ask questions and hear more about the steps he took to get to where he is.”
Computer science, electrical engineering and computer engineering students gathered to hear from Wozniak.
“There is no doubt the impact Wozniak has made in everyone’s lives,” said Ashlyn Hanks, a freshman computer science major. “Most of the computers in our labs are Macs. Every day I am interacting with the technology that Wozniak helped to develop, and today I have the incredible opportunity to meet and engage with the person who made this possible.”
After speaking with engineering students, Wozniak made his way to Congdon Hall’s Callicutt Auditorium for the Leadership Summit, moderated by Dr. Bill Gentry, HPU’s Director of Career and Professional Development.
“Wozniak talked about innovation, creativity and starting your own business,” said Gentry. “We have so many students here who are focused on taking their ideas from conception to market and he gave some really great advice. Having access to leaders like Steve Wozniak brings a broad perspective that helps students, no matter their major or discipline. If students see he can do it, then they think, ‘I can do it too.’”
Students left the session feeling empowered to set big goals and go out and make a difference in the world.
“Wozniak talked about how leaders have to listen,” said freshman Keilah Moore. “This really stuck out to me because it rings true in all areas of your life. He also shared how he was turned down five times by Hewlett Packard before he decided to create his own business. This inspired me to never give up, no matter what happens in life.”
Wozniak has served as HPU’s Innovator in Residence for three years. His relationship with campus continues to grow, and he frequently shares his passion for HPU with others.
“I have visited so many colleges throughout my life and High Point University is the only one I will recommend, even to my own family,” said Wozniak. “I appreciate the emphasis that High Point University and Dr. Qubein put on equipping students with life skills, which align with the values I hold and are what impressed me and brought me to HPU.”
ROGER SHORE RECEIVES SLANE DISTINGUISHED TEACHING-SERVICE AWARD
HIGH POINT, N.C., May 15, 2012 – Roger Shore, associate professor of mathematics and computer science at High Point University, received the Meredith Clark Slane Distinguished Teaching-Service Award at HPU’s 88th Commencement Ceremony.
“The award was completely unexpected,” says Shore. “I was humbled and honored by it. It’s nice to know that my life and work have made a positive impact on those around me at High Point University. That has been my life’s goal.”
Shore came to the university in 1988 with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and biology from Elon University, a master’s degree in mathematics from Appalachian State University and a master’s degree in computer science from Clemson University.
He developed the computer science minor program into a major in the early 1990s, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science has flourished since that time. Recently, Shore has worked with his students to complete two successful apps for iPads and iPhones, one available on the iTunes store and one available for classroom use. The “Hail to the Chief” app is a digital version of a presidential memorization board game, created by two High Point natives, that’s available for download to the general public. He and three computer science students also helped economics professors in the Phillips School of Business develop an app that simulates market trading on a live trading floor in the classroom.
Every year, he works with computer science students to present their research at prestigious conferences, and he mentors them in preparation for the international ACM programming contest that’s held each fall. He also participates in research that promotes computational science and high performance computing at the undergraduate level.
“Roger Shore is an asset to HPU, and his influence is far-reaching,” says Dennis Carroll, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is appropriate that he is honored with the Meredith Clark Slane Distinguished Teaching-Service Award in 2012.”