First Year Engineering Program designed to set new students up for success

September 13, 2022

Woman at desk speaking to a student

Melissa Collins speaks with a student about peer mentorship opportunities. Collins is director of the First Year Engineering Program.

Considering a career in engineering but not sure where to start? We get it. Starting an engineering degree program can seem intimidating, especially for those who haven’t been around professional engineers and may not know exactly how they want to apply their passion for science, technology or math. That’s where Melissa Collins comes in. She’s making sure first-year students have the tools and resources they need to not only get through the tough classes, but to thrive at Mizzou Engineering.

Collins is the First Year Engineering Coordinator at Mizzou Engineering and leads the ENGR 1000 class, an introductory course for new students. The class allows freshmen to explore the different engineering disciplines offered at Mizzou to best match their interests to a specific degree program.

The course also ensures first-year students have a support network they can rely on throughout college.

“It’s really an opportunity to create a sense of community and a sense of belonging,” said Collins, who is also an assistant teaching professor in biomedical, biological and chemical engineering. “We talk about the different kinds of engineering, but we also go over basics such as how to ask questions, take notes and get the most out of your college experience.”

One feature of the class is a series of alumni and other guest speakers. Collins is inviting recent graduates to talk to students about their time at Mizzou Engineering and how they transitioned from school to the workforce. Alumni will also share their professional experiences, helping students further distinguish the various degree programs and career paths.

Also as part of ENGR 1000, students become part of a Peer Mentor Program that connects them with juniors and seniors who can help guide them through their first couple of years at Mizzou.

“The peer mentors are a great resource, as they’ve recently gone through many of the same challenges new students face,” Collins said. “They can answer questions and provide really relevant tips and information. These juniors and seniors know the ropes, and now they’re excited to help new students navigate engineering coursework and life at Mizzou.”

Next semester, students who have completed ENGR 1000 will have the option to take ENGR 1050, which gives them the opportunity to delve deeper into research and lab work related to each engineering discipline. Collins is in the process of designing that course now.

“I would love to see 1050 become one big project that lets students work together to design a project from start to finish,” she said. “That would give them the opportunity to work with equipment, get hands on experience and really see how all aspects of engineering work together.”

Don’t settle for a basic engineering program. Set yourself up for success at Mizzou Engineering. Apply now.