Portrait of Gerald PineGerald Pine, who has been coaching students in the UA Engineering Design Program for the last nine years, is all about instilling confidence in students about to enter the workforce.

“Every year, the teams are surprised by their accomplishments, and their successes surprise us, the mentors, as well. It’s such a confidence builder for the students to see the results when they learn to work together, particularly with teammates from other disciplines.”

Pine brought 28 years of industry experience – and boundless energy – to the program when he joined in 2006, much to his mentees’ benefit. An MIT graduate with a PhD in nuclear engineering, he held positions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and natural gas research institutions before founding his own consulting company. At the University of Arizona, he has served as a lecturer for Interdisciplinary Engineering Design (ENGR 498) and Engineering Component Design (AME 324B). Each year he mentors six or seven capstone design teams.

Things have changed since Pine earned his degrees, but, he said, the value of engineering design projects is timeless.

“My capstone course was only one semester long, with a paper design, and it was not interdisciplinary. Even so, I served as an industry adviser for that program during the ’80s and saw how rewarding it was. The UA Engineering Design Program teaches students what it’s like to work real jobs and bridges their years of coursework with industry.”