UGA Engineering partners with Autodesk and NACME to pilot design bootcamp

Group of students stands on staircase at AutodeskThis past summer, the University of Georgia College of Engineering partnered with Autodesk and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) to pilot a seven-week Sophomore Engineering Design Bootcamp. This unique multi-week summer experience was designed to foster and empower UGA Engineering students, providing them with a marketable technical skill that could enhance their prospects in securing a career in STEM.

The pilot bootcamp program attracted participation from five students: Christian Aldama, Sarah Aldama, Jordyn Elise Earl, Cristina Madera-Rodriguez, and Chloe-Nicole Sullivan. 

Reflecting on her experience, civil engineering student Sarah Aldama shared, “The summer bootcamp with Autodesk gave me access to new methods of learning. Much like how an engineering school teaches students how to solve new problems, Autodesk has taught me how to learn new software.”

Throughout the program, students attended daily seminars taught by a team of Autodesk Fusion360 software design engineers, while concurrently taking a summer engineering course counting towards their degree. Participating students received a stipend; a tuition scholarship to take summer calculus II, calculus III, or engineering statics; an Autodesk Fusion Certification Course and related certification fee; tutoring/program oversight from alumna Joselin Ortuño ’23 and DEI graduate research assistant Glenie Morales; weekly professional development seminars/webinars; and a three-day externship with Autodesk in Atlanta.

“I got so much out of my experience participating in the Autodesk Bootcamp. I became certified in Fusion 360, grew in my professional development, networked with industry professionals, and made great friends along the way,” said Cristina Madera-Rodriguez, electrical and electronics engineering student.

All five students in the cohort passed the rigorous Fusion360 certification exam on their first attempt, a remarkable accomplishment and testament to the effectiveness of the program.

Sonia Garcia, the college’s assistant dean for undergraduate diversity, equity, and inclusion, emphasized that the successful completion of the Fusion360 certificate was not only a testament to the students’ dedication, but also a point of pride for our institution. She also noted that the significance of this achievement was acknowledged by both Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost and NACME CEO Michele Lezama.

Expressing gratitude, Chloe-Nicole Sullivan, intended computer-systems engineering student, remarked, “My experience this summer with the Autodesk Bootcamp has been life changing. Dedicating the summer to work on this phenomenal skill helped me learn about the corporate world and how to be consistent and disciplined. I’m grateful for the new friends and connections I have made during my time.”

Garcia acknowledged Autodesk and NACME’s sponsorship of the program, stating, “We extend our sincere appreciation to Autodesk and NACME for recognizing the potential within our student body and providing them with a platform to excel. Their trust in piloting an initiative at our institution has proven to be a transformative experience for our students, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities it has provided. This initiative not only equipped our students with valuable skills, but also served as a catalyst for their personal and professional growth. Your commitment to education, innovation, and diversity has left an indelible mark on our engineering community.”

“Notably, this pilot program wouldn’t have been possible without the visionary leadership of Dean Leo,” Garcia added. “His unwavering support, forward-looking vision, and understanding of the immense benefits this program brings to our students have been pivotal in its success. We are grateful for his commitment to advancing educational opportunities that empower our engineering community.”

View photos from the experience.

By Lillian Ballance

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