As a new Coleman Fellow I’ve been busy learning, exploring, and thinking. As an aerospace engineering professor (interested in aircraft design) the experience has different, fun, and exciting. The Coffee Cup webinars, the fall CEO conference, WSU’s Director (Dr. Tim Pett), and other fellows have been most helpful. I’ve learned a lot and have many new ideas.
My academic plans are to modify two or three aerospace design classes to incorporate self-employment concepts and experiences (e.g., AE 460H, AE 528, & AE 628).
Interestingly, I conducted a quick experiment in a fall 2011 honors course (AE 460H). Specifically, I required students to develop small indoor aircraft concepts (i.e., toys) - with self-employment potential. The planes flew great and met mission requirements. The students demonstrated great ideas and technical success. I’m confident all involved gained much from the experience. Perhaps a few of them are now more aware of larger career options.
I have a few specific objectives and elements planned for this spring’s class (AE 628). I want to increase student awareness of self-employment options (through short lectures, guest speakers, and basic assignments). Additionally, I would like to broaden their understanding of the importance of working with others (e.g., investors) and the need to create something useful (e.g., something that sells).
I’ve been particularly intrigued with the entrepreneurship elements of “opportunity recognition” and “communications.” Young engineers with exceptional skills in these areas will be very successful, either as an engineer or as a business starter.
I’ve enjoyed my Coleman Fellowship immensely. I’m looking forward to helping others (especially students) to discover the potential for self-employment. Thank you very much for this opportunity.
Scott Miller, Wichita State University