North Carolina State University

Prepares Students for Industry Challenges Through Hands-On Design Course

 

Company

North Carolina State (NC State) University is a public research university located in Raleigh. It began as a land-grant institution grounded in agriculture and engineering but has since grown into a pre-eminent research enterprise that excels across disciplines.  With more than 34,000 undergraduate and graduate students, these students learn by doing. They pursue original research and start new companies. They forge connections with top employers and serve communities local and global. Through it all, they enjoy an outstanding return on investment.

Challenge

The NC State Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has as its mission the accumulation, generation, and dissemination of knowledge in electrical and computer engineering. Dr. David Ricketts, a primary faculty professor specializing in teaching RF/microwave design, wanted to develop a hand-on learning program that would prepare electrical engineering students for real-world employment with leading RF/microwave firms that provide cutting-edge communications and aerospace/defense products. In addition to the challenge of teaching students the complex concepts of RF/ microwave design, Prof. Ricketts was finding that it took as long to teach the students how to use the complicated high-frequency design software—an entire semester—as it did to teach the design concepts.

Solution

Prof. Ricketts replaced the previous software in his classroom with NI AWR Design Environment, which is available to NC State students and professors free of charge through the AWR University Program. Because the software is so intuitive and easy to use, Prof. Ricketts has succeeded in developing a unique hands-on, interactive training program that quickly teaches his students how to leverage the software to design the basic building blocks of RF circuits in a single semester. 

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