The goal of the WTP-ME program is to expose students to the wide range of disciplines within Mechanical Engineering. The work done by mechanical engineers covers the gamut between intensive analytical and modeling work to nuts and bolts designing and building. Three daily class periods provide exposure to the range of work that encompasses mechanical engineering, as well as exposure to and experience with how engineers solve problems.
Classes give WTP-ME students analytical as well as hands-on experience in a variety of subject areas within engineering. Important topics in physics such as Newton's laws and energy conservation and conversion are covered near the beginning of WTP to serve as the foundation for in-depth coverage of a variety of topics important to mechanical engineers in subsequent weeks. These topics include solid materials, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, system design, manufacturing, bioengineering, and sustainable engineering. Students learn to use SolidWorks, a 3-dimensional solid modeling program, to design mechanical systems. Students are also equipped with the mathematical tools needed for more indepth study of ME topics. Matlab, a numerical computing package widely used by mechanical engineers, is used for applications ranging from data analysis to numerical methods for solving complicated problems.
The diversity of opportunities in mechanical engineering is explored, with an emphasis on the tradeoffs that engineers need to consider to be successful. The classes are very interactive, with numerous demonstrations and class projects.
In recognition of the diversity of mechanical engineering work, students perform two capstone projects: one that concentrates on the analytical and modeling work essential to effective engineering, and one that concentrates on designing and building machines for a specified task.
During the third week of the program, students select an area of particular interest for more in-depth mathematical modeling. Students work in pairs on their projects during week four, and make final poster presentations to members of the MIT community, including faculty and current students, at the end of the program. Concurrently, small groups of students design and build multi-step machines for a Rube Goldberg Challenge held on the final Friday of the program, also open to the entire MIT community
MIT faculty and engineers from industry present information about their research and career paths at lunch time sessions several days each week.