Dear SEAS Alumni and Friends,

Engineering begins with a solid foundation in theory, but it draws its real power through practical application. Undergraduate engineering education at UVa has always focused on this essential truth, and we have achieved great distinction in large measure because we insist that our students move out of the classroom and into the hands-on world of “experiential learning.” It is at the core of how we teach each new generation of engineers.

Whether they are working on solar cars, weather satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, robots, or any number of other real-world applications, our students have the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to the design, building, testing and refinement of technologies that will improve our lives and change the world. There is simply no substitute for experience.

We feel very strongly about this, and we have taken great satisfaction in helping Engineering at UVa expand the range of experiential learning opportunities available to our students. The accompanying materials showcase some of our many successful experiential initiatives and the remarkable students who take part in them. It is our hope that you will be inspired to join us in supporting this visionary and extraordinarily effective approach to engineering education. Thank you.


Chip and Connie Lacy

Experiential Learning

Latest articles and news from the Experiential Learning Center and across gounds

BLAST Camp Comes Back to UVa

“Science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, will be brought to life this week at the University of Virginia. Sunday afternoon, rising ninth and tenth graders […]

Deadliest Crash: U.Va. Takes Hard Look at Rollovers

How would you react in a rollover crash? Tense up and brace? Relax and go with the flow? Would you be wearing a seat belt? Does […]

First Year U.Va. Engineers Find Musical Inspiration

What made your first year of college unique? What memory or experience shaped that year and perhaps made you re-think your area of study? For U.Va. […]

Hoos Flying to International Success

When speaking with students on the Virginia Aero Design/HOOS Flying team, one hears a common theme: this is perhaps the only opportunity to apply aerospace engineering […]

Electric Car? We Can Build That!

Have you considered purchasing an electric car? Come to the U.Va. Engineering School – our students are building one. Working under the direction of Sebring Smith, […]

Spacecraft Design Class:  To Infinity and Beyond!

The spacecraft design class at UVa is going into space! Professor Christopher Goyne’s class is collaborating with NASA to send a cosmic ray probe into the […]

Mechanical Engineers Design a Martian Rover

One imagines NASA as a place populated by aerospace engineers feverishly designing satellites, space probes, and interplanetary landers. Actually NASA crowdsources design concepts from universities through […]

Building an Off-Road Vehicle from the Wheels Up

Your task is to design, plan, build, test, promote, and race a Baja mini car and have your car accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. […]

UVA Dedicates Lacy Hall

Of course, we were well taught by Professor Baber in our Steel Design course. The next step in the learning process which demonstrates higher-order thinking — and learning — is an application of the content, or even better, a synthesis based upon the content, which is exactly what the Steel Bridge project requires ... This more involved — more "real" way of using structural reference manuals — was really the first time I had to do what I've since learned is the foundation of my career as a structural design consultant.
Nick Goddeau (Civil, 2014)