Hands-on Learning

Solar avalanche beacon station at Dutchman Flat

Active learning is pivotal to COCC's Engineering and Physics programs, whether that means constructing a small-scale replica of a 13th-century wooden trebuchet or representing the process of quantum levitation. Students bring their studies to life through inquiry, innovation, and project execution — where fascination comes with the territory.

While exploring laws and theories, the hands-on assignments promote technical skills and relational strengths. Past projects have included hovercrafts, wind turbines, and a solar-powered avalanche beacon check station for backcountry users. To help connect concepts to career plans, classes routinely travel off-campus for field trips and site tours, as well as host speakers from diverse industry professionals. Participating companies and teaching partners have included: Lonza, Hydro Flask, Deschutes Brewery, Microsemi, Advanced Energy, Fuel Safe, Dent Instruments, EarthCruiser, Froelich Engineers, ThermoFisher Scientific, and the Oregon State University (OSU) nuclear engineering program.

Additionally, COCC partners with engineering faculty from OSU for co-teaching and shared learning, offering students exposure to specific studies such as hydrology and snow science.

These collective experiences shed light on the many STEM occupations and possible academic routes. For instance, students can transfer into degree programs at OSU-Cascades or the Oregon Institute of Technology.

"This is a universal preparation program for studies across the country." — Bruce Emerson, COCC emeritus physics professor