Measuring the Impact of Project-Based Design Engineering Courses on Entrepreneurial Interests and Intentions of Alumni

PI: Sheri Sheppard


For over half a century, ME310: Project-Based Engineering Design Innovation & Development has engaged Stanford graduate students in industry-sponsored projects where they experience various phases of integrated design thinking through engineering fabrication. The relatively recent expansion of the ME310 approach to courses and projects in other countries and contexts has resulted in many examples and anecdotal stories about how alumni have gone on to leverage their ME310 prototypes into commercial products. However, the impact of these intensive design experiences on course alumni has not been studied from the perspective of the intentions and interests in entrepreneurial outcomes. The objective of this study is to use quantitative and qualitative approaches to assess the long term impact of experiential, project-based design engineering courses on alumni who were engaged in it as students. The outcomes will include diverse research products and increased dissemination, outreach and access to a broader network of ME310 stakeholders. Stanford University’s ME310 will continue to be the central testbed for identifying insights that can be generalized to other engineering design experiences to address the broader benefits and human needs of students, faculty, institutions, and global partners.


Helen L. Chen, George Toye