PULLMAN, Wash. — A new breed of engineers come out of the Washington State
University pipeline this month. In keeping with the growing industrial demand, eight graduating
seniors pick up their degrees in computer engineering at the May 8 Pullman commencement, and
four graduating seniors in manufacturing engineering pick up their degrees May 15 at the WSU
Vancouver commencement.
While they currently represent a small number of the near 300 WSU College of Engineering
and Architecture baccalaureate graduates, these 13 students represent an engineering education
trend. As the technological age has progressed, new interest has evolved in such engineering
fields as biotechnology, information technology, computer science, computer engineering,
software engineering and manufacturing engineering, in comparison to the traditional fields of
mechanical, civil and electrical engineering. Such Northwest companies as Boeing, Intel,
Hewlett-Packard, Tektronix, Mentor Graphics, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Fluke and
other microelectronic and manufacturing companies have growing workforce demands in these
Manufacturing engineering deals with the processes, systems, costs, products and
innovations involved in producing or fabricating everything from the tiniest of micro-electronic
pieces or integrated circuits to huge power transformers, satellites and airplanes.
Computer engineering develops computer hardware and software, digital system design,
microprocessor systems and integrated circuits. Computer engineers design components and
controls for “embedded systems.” More than 11 billion such microprocessors were sold in 1997,
compared to 30 million personal computers. Hundreds are found inside aircraft; others run parts
of automated systems that lock doors, run vending machines, cameras, cars, remote controls and
a growing number of other modern “toys.”
Pullman faculty members Jack Meador and Mark Manwaring, who wrote the proposal for
computer engineering, also bridge students with industry through senior projects. WSU
Vancouver manufacturing engineering faculty Jack Swearengen, Tim McLaren and Hakan
Gurocak do likewise.
The first students to complete the new bachelor of science degree in manufacturing
engineering are Andre LaPierre, Vitaly Balan, Mitchell Wikoff and Bradley Wood, all from
southwest Washington. The new bachelor of science degree in computer engineering graduates
are James Doherty, Marysville; Gretchen Kramer, Richland; Brunet Toussiant, Pullman; Troy
Muller, Vancouver; Becky Richardson, West Linn, Ore.; Ronald “Lee” Steensland, Puyallup;
John Fulmer, Pullman; and Chris Woodward, Snohomish.
Several of these graduates already have job offers from such companies as Raytheon,
Hewlett-Packard, and Boeing.