Large corporate donation helps engineering department
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 01:04
Agilent Technologies Inc. is the world’s premier company for precise measurement tools in areas such as engineering, research, science and business.
Earlier this month, the engineering department benefitted from their expertise when the company donated $200,000 worth of their InfiniiVision 3000 X-Series oscilloscopes to the school.
“Agilent has had a long-standing partnership with UCCS for many years,” explained Megan Chura, the high-volume oscilloscope business manager for Agilent’s Oscilloscopes Product Division. Agilent has helped student research at UCCS in the past by lending equipment to the school.
The gift left many engineering students pleased and many non-engineering majors confused – what is an oscilloscope, and why does it matter?
Seth Shoemaker, a junior in electrical engineering, described the instrument like this: “Oscilloscopes are a tool that let you measure sinusoidal electrical currents, like alternating currents. They can show you the amplitude, the phase, the frequency and so forth.”
Essentially, oscilloscopes help researchers to develop the electrical components in many common products, and are also helpful in troubleshooting electrical equipment.
The measuring instrument is widely useful. Chura said, “Oscilloscopes are one of the most common tools used in [engineering labs]. Very general purpose.”
Not only are the tools used in a large number of classes, but they are also used when the department does demonstrations for high school classes that come to campus.
The donation was particularly welcome in light of their current equipment’s age.
“We had old instruments in the lab, and now we are replacing them with a new generation of instruments so that we can give students very good hands-on education,” said T. S. Kalkur, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair.
“This donation helped us a lot,” he added.
Like many of his peers, Shoemaker agreed that the donation was helpful and was pleased overall. “The machines they gave us were quite good,” he said. “The only thing I don’t like is that they can be very troublesome to connect to the computer. But, that’s a small quibble.”
Partially due to Agilent’s gift, Shoemaker said he would consider the company for a job after graduation.
Kalkur thinks this is a good mindset. “Students are trained with [Agilent’s] instruments when they go to get a job,” he said. “So that gives them an edge over their competitors.”
In fact, this was a key motivator behind the donation.
“We hire many graduates from UCCS,” Chura said, which leads to the company’s “vested interest in not only keeping the relationship, but also keeping students engaged with the latest and greatest technology.”
On April 5, the school held an unveiling ceremony in celebration of the gift, given through Agilent’s University Relations program, where the chancellor formally accepted the donation on behalf of the university.