NIU Voices: See what NIU engineering is all about

Dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Donald Peterson.
Dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Donald Peterson.

What is engineering and what do engineers do? Those are the questions we’ll be answering at the Engineering Open House at the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University.

On Saturday, Feb. 29, from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. our doors will be open to prospective students and anyone curious to see how a 3D printer works, or witness a wind tunnel in action and find out how they’re used. A lucky group of students will be selected at random to suit up for an exclusive tour of our 100-level cleanroom lab, where microelectronic computer chips are made.

Visitors will get to see the Supermileage vehicle developed by our team of students that can travel 1,888 miles on one gallon of gas.

The Robotics Club will be demonstrating its award-winning robot that won first place two years in a row at the Midwest Robotics Design Competition.

These are just two examples of how CEET prides itself on emphasizing hands-on experience for students. As soon as they are enrolled, students can start to apply their classroom learning to hands-on experience in the labs and as participants in our 20 student organizations and clubs, such as Supermileage and Robotics Club.

In addition to these fascinating things to see, the college’s three facilities and its 40 research and teaching labs will be on display, and faculty, students and advisers will be on hand to talk about degree options, transfer information and admissions. If you’d like to attend, learn more and RSVP at

A second opportunity to see what we’re all about is on Friday, May 1, from noon to 3 p.m., when hard work and innovation will be on display at Senior Design Demonstration Day. More than 260 graduating seniors will showcase the capstone projects they’ve been working on all year. This expo-style event is open to the public for browsing the 80-plus team projects that will be on display at the NIU Convocation Center.

Senior Design is the pinnacle learning experience in an engineering student’s undergraduate education. Under the mentorship of faculty and industry professionals, the senior design program brings together concepts and principles learned in the classroom and extends theories into practical use. Students get hands-on experience in solving real-world problems. We hope you’ll join us and witness firsthand why we say, Huskies never quit.

CEET was ranked in the top 40 for undergraduate engineering programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. In 2019, we introduced Ph.D. programs in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and industrial and systems engineering. In 2018, we began offering bachelor of science degrees in biomedical engineering and mechatronics engineering in 2019. This is in addition to our electrical engineering, engineering technology, industrial and systems engineering, and mechanical engineering programs that are all fully accredited by ABET and ATMAE.

We invite you to stop in and see the amazing work our students are doing right here in your own backyard.

• Donald Peterson, Ph.D., is dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University. An accomplished researcher with degrees in aerospace, mechanical and biomedical engineering, Peterson joined the college in 2017. He previously held faculty and administrative positions in the Texas A&M University System and at the University of Connecticut.

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