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New Equipment Provides Hands-on Learning for
Future Engineers


West Windsor, N.J. – Ask Mercer County Community College Assistant Professor James Maccariella, P.E., coordinator of the Engineering Science and Civil Engineering Technology programs, and he will tell you without hesitation that the engineering field offers more career options than any other discipline.

“Engineers are behind almost all of today’s exciting technology,” Maccariella says.  “They are problem solvers who are searching for quicker, better, and less expensive ways to use the forces and materials of na­ture to meet today’s challenges.”

Now, with the purchase of sophisticated new laboratory equipment, MCCC students studying Civil Engineering Technology (CET) and Engineering Science (ES) are getting a hands-on, state-of-the-art opportunity to apply their textbook learning.

According to Maccariella, students are using two Universal Testing Machines (UTMs) to test the properties of materials such as steel, aluminum, brass, cast iron, and reinforced concrete. In addition, a new Flow Channel allows students to test water in an open channel to simulate the flow in a river or reservoir, so that they can measure pressure, velocity, and type of flow to verify how experimental conditions align with theoretical conditions. MCCC also has a Concrete Mixing Machine that allows students to proportion the concrete mix to achieve a desired strength and durability. “They mix the concrete, construct a reinforced concrete beam, and test the beam to determine the beam's strength.  They can then compare the experimental strength with the theoretical strength,” he explains.

Maccariella emphasizes the advanced level of instruction these machines provide.  “Theory and application are both important. You need to understand the theory and then be able to apply it. With these machines, we are providing invaluable training for the real world.”

The ES program focuses on theory and conceptual design, while the CET program concentrates on application and implementation.  Both programs allow students to transfer to four-year institutions in their respective majors.

Maccariella notes that both the ES and CET concentrations have articulation agreements with several area universities to enhance the transfer process. MCCC engineering students have the opportunity to join a student chapter of the Professional Engineering Society of Mercer County, which provides opportunities for field visits to current construction projects.

“Our goal with all our engineering students is to put them on the road to licensure as a professional engineer,” Maccariella says.

Adds Dr. Donald Generals, MCCC Vice President for Academic Affairs, the college's faculty recently completed an Education Master Plan that calls for a long-term commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines and programs. "The enhancement of our Engineering programs is part of that commitment," he said.

More about the Engineering Science program is available here. For more about Civil Engineering Technology, click here.

Professor Maccariella can be contacted directly at maccarij@mccc.edu.



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Engineering students studying Fluid Mechanics perform a “dry run” on the college’s new Flow Channel, which simulates the flow in a river or reservoir. Pictured from left are: Tyler Rogers, Szymon Saniewski, Konah Hall, Daniel Oldenburg, Chris Sholy, Jesse Gatling and Jonathan Olcheski.
Two Universal Testing Machines allow students to
test the properties of materials such as steel,
brass, cast iron and reinforced concrete.
With the Concrete Mixing Machine, students
are able to proportion the concrete mix to
achieve a desired strength and durability.