The Learning Factory puts students to work

Penn State students tackled real engineering challenges last month as part of the Learning Factory Project Showcase. More than 200 students participated in the April 27 event held at University Park.

Established in 1995, the Learning Factory is an industry-university partnership that offers engineering students preparation for careers in design, manufacturing, and product realization. The spring showcase included capstone projects from mechanical, industrial, electrical, chemical, and computer engineering, as well as computer science and bioengineering. Also, students from the engineering entrepreneurship program displayed novel project designs and prototypes, along with business plans and product brochures.

woman in pink look at sample in lab with two men
The Learning Factory

"I can't promise a company that we'll solve their problems, but I'm sure they'll get something out of it," said John Lamancusa, professor of mechanical engineering and Learning Factory director. "Our students get a better education, and companies get cost-effective designs, as well as exposure, which help them recruit."

Showcase sponsors included Aerotech, Air Products, BAE Systems, Boeing, UPS, Walmart, and West Penn Allegheny Health Systems.

John Lamancusa, Ph.D., is professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Learning Factory. He can be reached at

Last Updated May 22, 2006