Engineering On Demand: A New Kind Of Lab

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Frank Cappuccio, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and Skunk Works® director, spoke at SMU in March.

SMU engineering students will be the first in the world to study and create through the one-of-a-kind SMU/Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Program at the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. Working closely with faculty, students will roll up their sleeves and learn how to tackle real-world engineering problems in a fast-paced environment.

The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab is famous for gathering small teams to work round-the-clock, an approach it used to develop quickly the world’s fastest and most sophisticated military aircraft for use during World War II and in recent years. Its makeshift lab in California was located near an odiferous plastics facility. A team member began answering the phone “Skonk Works,” after the backwoods moonshine still depicted in the popular comic strip, “Li’l Abner.”

“We are fully committed to graduating students with innovative engineering skills, a passion for leadership and a strong social conscience,” says Lyle School of Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak. “Skunk Works® assignments will challenge students with demanding problems that address global challenges.”

Lyle School of Engineering faculty started this spring to solicit and vet real-world problems for students to undertake, says Delores M. Etter, who leads the SMU/Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Program. Etter is director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at the Lyle School of Engineering and Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education.

The state-of-the art facility will be located in the new Caruth Hall, now under construction.

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