GRAND RAPIDS — Every spring, the second-year engineering students at Minnesota North College, Itasca, wrap up the first two years of their engineering education by completing a Capstone Design project. The Capstone experience uses EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) as a framework for completing the project. The engineering program at Itasca collaborates with Purdue University to bring EPICS to Northern Minnesota.
A new opportunity presented itself in late December when Grand Rapids Players president John Schroeder approached Gordy Savela, Minnesota North Engineering and Chemistry Instructor, exploring a collaboration to design and fabricate a complicated set piece for their upcoming production of R+H “Cinderella,” an 8-foot diameter, fully functioning clock. With Savela’s engineering background and his knowledge of Minnesota North’s Capstone Design Projects, it was a perfect fit and perfect timing!
The project was launched in late January when artistic director John Schroeder was put in contact with the Itasca Engineering Faculty and project facilitator Derek Fox. To bring a project like this to fruition, the students follow the EPICS Design Process, which consists of four main phases: Project Scoping, Conceptual Design, Detailed Design and Delivery. The scoping phase typically involves the students working with the stakeholder to identify the project details, constraints, budget, and expectations. The conceptual and detailed design phases consist of the students working through various iterations of solutions and prototypes with a continuous feedback loop between the stakeholder and the students. The Delivery phase occurs at the end of the project, where the final product, solution, etc., is delivered to the stakeholder. The stakeholders are invited to the Engineering Design Showcase in May where all projects are presented on Itasca’s commencement day.
Whereas the capstone design projects generally run the full 16 weeks of a semester and culminate in May with a Design Showcase, a group of engineering students needed a project that could be completed in an abbreviated timeframe. In addition to being part of the engineering program at Itasca, these students are also a part of Itasca’s Denmark Exchange program.
Grand Rapids Players invites the community to a timeless classic performance of the R+H Broadway musical “Cinderella,” Friday through March 19 at the Reif Center. This family-friendly production is filled with song, dance, puppetry, magical transformations and even a fantastical giant. Ticket info at grplayers.com
“Cinderella” is underwritten by Woodland Bank, made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature’s general fund and is produced with permission from Concord Theatricals, NY.
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