Wednesday, October 15

We will not meet as a group today. Pre-proposals are due this week so please use the time wisely by working on those.


Week 3 - No Meeting This Week

We will not meet this week (10/8/08).  Remember that the deadline for pre-proposals is 10/17/08, with hard copies due to me and your Advisor(s).

Also, if you have an externally-funded/sponsored project, remember that your industry advisor and Faculty advisor need to meet, either in person (preferable) or by phone (less preferable) and agree on the direction and scope of your project before it can be accepted. The sponsorship funds ($5k) also need to be forwarded to the Department.

 Finally, don't forget to send me some brief notes on Angel the ECE lectures and Beer key activities on your project, each week.


Course Syllabus

Attached is what I believe is the final (at least for now) version of the syllabus for MATE 491-3. The ECE Fall Term lecture series looks as if it will be essentially the same as last year, with the dates adjusted accordingly.


Gannt Charts

Attached is an Excel spreadsheet which may be used to create Gannt Charts.


Senior Design 2008-09 Pre-Proposals

Here is a suggested outline for your written Pre-Proposals.

 1. Title/Cover Page:

- Indicate the project title, your name and affiliation, your advisor's name(s), mentor's name (if known), and Course # information (MATE 491 for Seniors, MS Thesis for BS/MS) and the date.

2. Abstract:

- A short summary (150-200 words) of the whole thing. 

3. Problem Statement:

- Describe the nature of the problem your project is going to investigate/address, together with a rationale...make it clear just why it is a problem. Keep this brief and as specific/focused as possible.

4. Background:

- Summarize relevant background information that you have on the problem outlined above. THis implies doing some research - on-line or by going to the library.

5. Planned Approach:

- Summarize your intended approach - experimental and/or theoretical (as appropriate), the characterization techniques you intend to use and brief explanations as to why they have been selected.

-Discuss briefly what you intend to do by way of experiments - what process parameters you will vary; the # of repeat trials for each condition; what you hope to correlate to what...i.e. an overview of your planned experimental matrix...your design of experiments.

6. Timeline:

- A Gantt chart should be included showing all the major tasks, including the due-dates/deadlines etc. for reports and presentations.

- There are websites (e.g. where you can develop Gantt charts and then save them for importing into your documents. 

7. Budget:

- A cost summary including Personnel/Labor (+ Fringe) costs; Direct Costs (the cost of all materials, supplies, cost of using the characterization instruments (check the CRF web page via the DNI web page for the $/hr rate for things like the SEM, TEM, Ramans, FTIR, Nanoindenter etc.); Indirect Costs (Drexel's Indirect cost rate is 50%). Indirect cost is typically charged on the total cost of Labor + Direct Costs.

8. References:

- If any to date.

9. General:

- Figures can be included, and should be properly captioned and numbered...use a format like "Fig. 1: TEM image of single-walled carbon nanotube."

- It's a good idea to number the main section headings and subheadings of the document too, i.e. 2, 2.1, 2.1.1 etc.

- Number the pages.

- Spell check!



Deliverables: BS vs BS-MS

Clarification of the difference in deliverables between BS and BS-MS:

BS: Written pre-proposal; draft written project proposal/report to WIT; written project proposal/report; Oral Presentation

BS-MS: Written pre-proposal; Oral Presentation.



Using This Blog

You can all access blog posts from previous years' Senior Design courses, including files that I have attached...for example the one on Keeping A Lab Notebook, that is very useful. Many of the reminders and things carry over from year to year.


Senior Design 2008-09 Instrument Access etc.

If you envisage using instruments (SEM, Raman, Nanoindenter, TEM, MicroCT, FTIR, XRD) which are located in the Centralized Research Facility (CRF) in Bossone then you need to talk to your Advisor about whether they have a user subscription for the instrument(s) you wish use during your projects, and also determine whether you need training.

 Also, to work in MSE Dept. labs or to work in the CRF it is necessary for everyone to update their Drexel Lab Safety training (an annual renewal), and to do that visit and select the "Training" tab at the top, then select the "General Lab/Chemical Safety Training" modules. You will need to enter your E-mail address etc. at some point in the process. CRF users are required to show proof of having completed the on-line lab safety training...and to do that you should print out a hard copy of the final screen of your session, which will show the various modules you've completed. If you will be working with biohazards then you should also complete the Biosafety modules. 

 An alternative link to the on-line training can be found at: 

Some additional lab safety information, downloadable files and useful links are also available via the MSE web page...just use the "Search MSE" function and enter the word "Safety".


Written Report Guidelines

A very general guideline for written final reports which you may find useful is attached. As always, please work closely with your Advisor(s) and Mentor on the specific format that best suits your particular project.




Beware of PowerPoint Hell
You may find it useful to review the following link

it's possible to have too much of a good thing (PowerPoint)...maybe a case of style over substance.

MATE 493 WIT Deadlines and Reminders

Most of you met with Peter Caroselli, our assigned WIT for this term on Tuesday evening. The key pieces of information you all (seniors) need to have regarding the WIT process are as follows:

1. The first draft of your final written report is due (by E-mail) to the WIT no later than 5/7/08. Please send documents in Word (.doc rather than .docx format to be safe) to Pete Caroselli at <>. Pete will review your writing and provide feedback on the writing, grammar, syntax and structure. He will NOT be commenting on the technical content...that's between you and your Advisor(s) and mentor. You should each then make an appointment to meet with Pete IN PERSON at the Writing Center to go over his comments. Then you should incorporate suggested changes into your document as it grows from a draft to the final thing, which is to be handed in for grading (by 5/21/08). A copy of the WIT guidelines is attached to this posting.

2. Abstracts are due to me by 4/17/08 - please make sure to use the format shown in the template I circulated previously. If you don't have this then come see me.

3. Outside Judge: If anyone has a suggestion for an external judge for the CoE Senior Design Competition then please let me have their name and contact information ASAP.


CoE Senior Design Competition Dates etc.

Dear Everyone,

As promised, here are the details (dates, times, requirements etc.) for the 2008 CoE Senior Design Competition...looks like my estimates in the previous post were pretty close:

This year’s Senior Design Competition will be held on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Please mark your calendars. Listed below are the critical dates for us (me in most cases) to provide information pertaining to the competition. I will be contacting you in due course regarding getting this information to me so that I can submit things like the abstracts by the date indicated.
Thurs. 4/17/08 Final Abstracts Due – These are needed in order to publish the Senior Design Booklet in time for Departmental Presentations. Format information to follow in due course.

Thurs. 4/24/08 Provide Name and contact information of a confirmed outside judge (one from each department). Any suggestions/recommendations?

Wed.  5/28/08 Submit Name of Group being sent to competition (5/30 CS if necessary) One group from each department. This year’s multi-disciplinary group will be from MEM.

The competition will be held in Bossone (Auditorium) again this year.  It should run from ~8:45 a.m. to approximately 3:45 p.m.


Winter Term Oral Presentations 3/14/08 and Written Reports 2/13/08

Next Friday 3/14/08, we will have the Winter Term oral presentations. Here are a few guidelines to help you organize your thoughts and material.

Time: 20 minutes + 5 minutes for Q&A.

Presentation Structure:

1. Title slide [all the usual stuff...names, title, course #, date, advisor(s) etc.]

2. Brief re-statement of the Problem your project is attempting to address [1-2 slides max]

3. Brief re-statement of the Approach you are taking to address the above problem [1-2 slides max]

4. Restatement of relevent Background information...scene setting, "big picture" type material. This could go also before #'s 2 and 3 if you wish.

5. Major emphasis on your Results and Accomplishments to date, including, where applicable, your Interpretation of what the results indicate...trends, feasibility of approaches being followed, validation [or otherwise] of hypotheses formulated.

- This is where you can present data...graphs, micrographs, results of syntheses, testing, measurements and analysis etc.

- Try to show that what you are doing is in accordance with sound scientific and engineering principles...e.g. designed experiments, statistical analysis of results, appreciation of sources of error in measurements etc.

6. Explicitly address the Ethical, Societal and Environmental aspects of your work...if there are none then just state that explicitly, this then demonstrates that you have at least given these some consideration and determined that they are not issues.

7. An updated list of Tasks and an updated Timeline [e.g. a Gannt chart]...i.e. what do you still need to do in order to complete your project. Any major problems can also be addressed here, together with your plans for addressing them...i.e. your "Plan B".

I strongly recommend that everyone work closely with their Advisor(s) and Mentor(s) in preparing everything, and that you practice your presentations with your Advisor, maybe during a group meeting, before next Friday.

I will circulate a new version of the Oral Presentation schedule shortly...the most recent version had the time slots as 15+5, whereas they need to be 20+5 minutes!

Written Reports are due to me, your Advisor(s) and other faculty grader by 5:00 pm on Thursday 3/13/08. These should be 10-20 pages in length, one and a half spaced. All figures should have proper captions below them, all tables should have proper headings above them. The text should include properly formatted and cited references, where appropriate.

Remember to SPELL CHECK both your written report and oral presentation...if necessary ask a colleague to proofread them for you.

As in the Fall term, we will arrange for Pizza etc. for lunch around Noon during the oral presentations.

Good luck...and if anyone has any questions please stop by and see me.


Jobs etc. + Reminders

During Friday 2/22's meeting we talked about jobs, who has them and who's still looking. Some key parts of job hunting are:

• Making contacts:

- The name of the game is networking, getting known by people with connections. This is where it's not what you know, it's who you know becomes so important. 

- Professional society membership and meetings are very useful's not too late to join Material Advantage, which gives you access to the resources of four, yes four, professionals societies, ASM International, TMS, ACerS and AIST, all for just $25. Resources include resume posting and access to job postings. There's also a guy named Al Singmaster at the local ASM Chapter who runs an employment agency in the "materials" field...a good person to meet, and get your resume to.

- Be persistent and polite.

- Avoid imposing too many restraints, e.g. "job must be within 2 miles of Drexel".

- If you do get interviews you MUST follow up with a Thank You note to all the key people you interviewed with within 24 hours. E-mail is acceptable today.

- Get yourself some business cards and list you contact information.

- Do your "homework" on the company in advance of the interview...know in detail what they do, where they are located, how big the company is and so on.

- Consult with experts at Drexel's career counseling office. 


SOME Important Reminders:

- Take a look at your transcripts and make sure that you aren't missing any required course, or an elective...count up the credits and make sure you have enough. If you have an issue then please see Mrs. Trachtman ASAP.

- Winter Term progress presentations will be held on Friday March 14th. Latest versions of the schedule were handed out on Friday...if there are conflicts I need to know ASAP please.

- The emphasis should be on results, progress and what's needed to complete your project in Spring. Briefly recap the what, why and how at the start of your presentation, but don't overdo it. Update your project timeline. 

- Remember to invite your external sponsors.

Winter Term Senior Design: Meeting Time & Place, Progress Report Reminder
Dear Seniors and BS/MS Students,

 Good morning. OK, we finally have a room and day/time assigned for us to meet - Curtis 255B, Fridays, 10-11:50 am. Rather bizarrely this is the same room, same time and same day as was originally scheduled for us, and was then taken away...yet as of today this is what is offered in response to Judy's request for a room. Based on your input earlier in the term this should accommodate the majority of the group.

 I would like to meet again the week after next (Friday 2/8/08), at which time all of the true Seniors need to submit [hard copy plus an E-mail copy, .doc format please, NOT .docx] a 2-3 page Progress Report to me, to your Advisor, your other faculty grader and grad student mentor. BS/MS students do not need to submit these. The purpose of these is twofold [1] additional practice in writing to describe and present your work and [2] an update on your status and progress with your projects, so that we can identify any major problems or issues well enough in advance to be able to develop and implement any remedial steps that may be necessary.

 We will also conduct an informal "peer review" of these progress reports when we meet as a group the following week...I will provide copies of the reports, which we will "shuffle around" and have someone else read it and critique it. This provides good feedback and an opportunity to learn from each other's projects. Your progress reports should be organized as follows:

1. Make sure to include your name, course #, Advisor (s) and Mentor's names, project title and date.

2. Use "bullets" rather than paragraphs of text to report your accomplishments...bullets are shorter, more direct, and easier to comprehend in reports.

3. Briefly recap the problem your project is addressing [an opportunity to revisit your problem statement if your written report or oral presentation from back in December was criticized in this area - hint!

4. Briefly recap your approach.

5. Give major emphasis to your progress to date:

        - Tasks completed.

        - Results to date...experiments in progress, data gathered, analysis of results, status of design tasks, materials selection etc.

        - Highlight any major problems you've encountered [e.g. in obtaining materials, with equipment access, with your planned approach not working or turning out not to be feasible].

6. Highlight any significant changes in your scope or approach, and briefly explain, together with a brief indication of your "Plan B".

7. Update your project timeline, indicating which tasks have been completed and showing which tasks, if any, have slipped in timing, and by how much.


- Remember to meet regularly with your Advisor(s) and Mentor.

- If possible, participate in your Advisor's "group" meetings...request a 5-10 minute slot if necessary...get yourselves on the agenda...practice and feedback from your Advisor and others working in the group can only be good!

Finally, just to plant the seed...the Winter Term oral presentations will be held on Friday, March 14th, In Hill Seminar Room...please mark your calendars. This time, my goal will be to have the BS/MS students go first. Written reports [from Seniors, not BS/.MS] are due the day before, 3/13/08
More Posts Next page »