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First Year Engineering Program

Engineering Fundamentals Program--Dive into Design within the First Year Program

A backpack that reminds you if you forget something…A vest that senses workplace accidents...Automatic de-fogging goggles... A smart medicine cabinet…A foot controlled mouse for the disabled. At Western New England University, you won’t have to wait until graduation to begin designing products that improve people’s lives. Here, you’ll dive into the design and innovation process on Day One of your very first semester. 

Introduction to Engineering—fall semester

In this interactive course, you'll gain real engineering experience, working on teams of four or less on actual design projects.

Your mission: to design and build a Fully Autonomous Multitasking Robot prototype to compete against other teams.

Criteria for Success: energy optimization, good maneuverability, and intelligent sensing of the environment.

Applied Learning: machine and assemble components, learn basic circuitry and wiring, and program an Arduino microcontroller.

Acquired Skills: learn the engineering design process, communication, and teamwork—essential building blocks for a successful career in engineering.


  • Watch our Bot Battle Video

    Theory to practice takes on a whole new meaning when freshmen in the Engineering Fundamentals course square off in heated competition for high marks and bragging rights in a series of five robot challenges based around a "customer" of U.S. Army Engineers. 

Data Acquisition and Processing—spring semester

The skills you’ve learned in the first semester become more advanced in the second as you apply them to identify an opportunity to solve a problem using smart technology. Past innovations include:

  • A smart fish tank monitor and feeder
  • A cardiac monitor for exercise
  • An automatic pool tester and chemical distributer
  • A window that adjusts its opening based on outside weather conditions and indoor temperature
  • An alarm clock toaster oven

Your Mission: Design and build a working smart product to be exhibited at the end of the semester. 

Acquired Skills: how to conduct experiments that involve the collection and processing of data, and how to find opportunities.

Applied Learning: Interpret problem statements and their translation into language that can be understood by software such as MATLAB and LabVIEW. 

These courses challenge you to utilize the engineering design process on more advanced projects. Students start with “painstorming” and developing a “bug list.” This helps identify what pains or bugs users about a given task or situation, and indicates a need for innovation. As you determine how to work toward satisfying that need, you'll begin to look at the world through the eyes of an engineer!

Bot Battle Competition

Watch a Video of Our Bot Battle!

Theory to practice takes on a whole new meaning when the First Year Program in the Engineering Fundamentals course square off in a heated competition for high marks and bragging rights in a series of five robot challenges based around a "customer" of U.S. Army Engineers. 

At the beginning of the fall semester, student teams are tasked with designing and building a Fully Autonomous Multitasking Robot prototype. Successful designs demonstrate energy optimization, good maneuverability, and intelligent sensing of the environment. The competition marks the completion of the introductory course that provides students with hands-on learning from Day One.

In the process, the students gain skills in machining and assembling components, learn basic circuitry and wiring, and how to program an Arduino microcontroller.

Nearly 50 teams of three-four students compete in the five rounds. Challenges include The Race 'Bot, The Tractor Pull, The Minesweeper, The IED Disposal 'Bot, and an Aesthetics judging.

Kitrosser Innovation Studio

You'll have access to cutting-edge technology to fuel your original ideas and make your designs a reality. The Kitrosser Innovation Studio, open to first-year students, is a new design space that will spark your innovative thinking. The adaptable studio can quickly be converted from a fabrication lab to individual hubs for teamwork.

Along with a suite of electronic and shop tools, the Kitrosser Innovation Studio is equipped with two MakerBot replicator 3-D printers and a Trotec laser cutter/engraver. The studio has become the center of activity for the first year engineering program with the event "pits" located in the studio. 

Work closely with expert faculty instructors and alumni mentors

As a first year engineering student, you will learn in a supportive, studio-learning environment with our outstanding educators and mentors.

  • The close attention you get from our faculty is an important facet of the First Year Program.
  • You will be given true engineering experiences, taught by faculty who will engage students and inspire them to pursue a career in engineering.
  • Faculty teaching first-year courses means you get to know them, and develop them as mentors, early on.
  • The Alumni Mentoring Program, which connects alumni with current first-year students, provides networking opportunities and offer guidance for the all-important first job search.


Each spring, the College of Engineering invites industry professionals, members of the University community, and the public to an exhibition featuring student research projects developed by our first-year students and graduating seniors. This exhibition demonstrates the amazing range of creativity and innovation exhibited by our students, many of which may follow in the footsteps of past projects that have led to patents and new business ventures.