Q&A with Dr. Coray Davis, Capitol Tech's Chair of EngineeringJanuary 14, 2021
The Capitol Technology University Blog sat down with Dr. Coray Davis, Capitol Tech's Chair of Engineering, to talk about his field, his experience, and his goals for the department.
Question: Could you briefly describe your career in engineering and engineering education?
Answer: I got my start as an entry level civil engineer while in graduate school. Throughout my career I have been able to design highways and traffic signals that have provided significant improvements intersections and highways, which have made it safer for the lives of many travelers. The impact of this success gave me the opportunity to reach back to support future engineers. I have been involved in engineering education for the past thirteen years. I took an opportunity to teach as an adjunct in Engineering and later worked my way into a tenure role, and becoming a full professor. I enjoy the opportunity to share with students the many challenges and successes that will occur. I often remind them that failure is part of the process, so continue to seek advice, take on challenges, and take advantage of opportunities to engage with faculty, staff, and industry throughout your journey.
Q: What have you enjoyed the most about working at Capitol Tech so far?
A: The small campus environment is a plus. It allows for developing relationships with staff and makes for a great environment to interact and support our students. I believe that Capitol Tech embodies the commitment to holistic student success in the form of engagement, well-being, partnerships, and community.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of engineering? How about your favorite aspect of teaching engineering?
My favorite aspect of engineering is the engineering design process itself. I love to engage with students on their projects and the fact the we can arrive at many solutions to a problem. Those many solutions can lead to new innovations and new discovery.
Q: How do you define engineering?
A: Engineering is the ability to solve problems through the use of science and math. Along the way, your solution to a problem, can lead great innovations that will provide for the health and safety of our society. We have to continue to design, invent, explore, challenge ourselves, and LEAD.
Q: What is your vision for the Engineering department?
A: My vision for the engineering department reflects my personal statement. It’s truly about holistic student success. I envision an Engineering department that continues to promote holistic student well-being, champion diverse and inclusive environments, and effectively builds teams to support student success. I believe that instilling a sense of community is an important foundation for life-long learning. As students graduate and leave the institution, they are able to look back over this time, they are able to appreciate what the Capitol Tech Community has done for them. In turn, this makes for great alumni support and support for future programming and diverse initiatives with service as guest lecturers, providers of internships, or giving. Some targeted areas included within this division that I am excited to work with our team on include, advising and mentoring, cultivating relationships with k-12, career support, assessment, and interdisciplinary projects. I think that these are areas that are definitely core areas for building holistic student success.
Q: Could you describe the differences in goals for students who graduate with an undergraduate engineering degree and those who graduate with a master’s or doctoral engineering degree?
A: Undergraduate’s pursuing engineering degrees have a goal completing their degree requirements and landing a great opportunity to start their careers. Throughout their matriculation they have goals of being successful in each of their courses, learning about engineering, working as interns, and pursuing research that stems from capstone projects and experiential learning.
Upon completing an undergraduate degree, many undergraduates seek an advanced engineering degree to develop their skills beyond the general skills developed as an undergraduate. They may also want to specialize heavily in a specific engineering discipline or further define career direction while employed in their field.
In either case, I would encourage future engineers to talk with professionals in fields that hold interest and take advantage of the great advising that we as faculty and staff provide. Additionally, take a self-assessment of any experiences that you have held, and consider whether the work was exciting. Can you see yourself performing this work as a career?
Q: Could you briefly describe the differences between the engineering undergraduate degrees that Capitol Tech offers?
- Our Astronautical Engineering degree prepares you to design and develop technologies for aircraft operating outside the earth’s atmosphere.
- Our Computer Engineering degree prepares you t design and analyze computers and their hardware.
- Our Electrical Engineering degree prepares you design and analyze electrical systems and components upon gaining extensive knowledge and understanding of electrical theory and hands-on experience with foundational courses in circuitry, mechanics, computer programming and thermodynamics.
- Our Electronics Engineering Technology degree prepares you to apply engineering and mathematical principles to implement, maintain, and troubleshoot electronic systems, such as computers and controllers
- Our Engineering Technology degree prepares you to apply engineering and mathematical principles to specific engineering techniques in production, design, manufacturing, and operations fields.
- Our Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering Technology degree prepares you to apply engineering and mathematical principles encompassing knowledge across electrical, computer, mechanical, and robotics fields.
- Our Mechatronics Engineering degree prepares you to design, build, and operate smart machines, from engineering concepts gained in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.
- Our Software Engineering degree prepares you to design, plan, and create software systems.
Q: What kind of skills do undergraduate students learn in Capitol Tech’s degree programs?
A: At Capitol, our undergraduate students are truly preparing for success. Within their courses and across campus our students are developing and enhancing their writing and presentation skills, their ability to think critically, their leadership skills, and the ability to perform basic research. It is essential that we continue to nurture them along the way to becoming superb professionals contributing to society.
Q: What kind of skills do graduate students learn in Capitol Tech’s degree programs?
A: At Capitol, our graduate students are developing transferrable skills that will support their research and work ethic in business, industry, and government. Within their courses and across campus, our graduate students are enhancing their public speaking capabilities, research and writing acumen. Graduate students engage in more effective decision making to solve problems for projects they are involved in. These projects will require the use planning and conceptualization techniques gained and enhanced as a graduate student at Capitol, enabling them to manage multiple projects, set and obtain goals, and motivate others through their leadership.
Q: What kind of careers are available for people with engineering degrees?
A: Many engineers have rewarding careers working with cutting edge technology and enjoy working in collaboration with other team members to develop innovations in technology. Based on a study performed by the U.S. Department of Labor engineers tend to stay employed with the same company for significantly longer periods of time than workers in other professions. This is good food for thought for all of our students. You can start out as an entry level professional and grow your career within the same firm. You will enjoy your job as an engineering technician, aerospace engineer, project coordinator, robotics engineer, electrical engineer, project engineer, industrial engineer, etc.
Q: How does an engineering degree from Capitol Tech differ from other university’s engineering degrees?
A: There’s nothing like relationships and having the support you need to be successful. Capitol’s faculty and staff, combined with the small campus feel and team effort, truly provide a win-win approach for our students. Our students gain the knowledge and abilities from industry experts, some of whom have graduated from Capitol with advanced degrees, and are employed as working engineering professionals within man public and private agencies. This experience is very unique and places our students significantly closer to the great opportunities.
Q: What opportunities are available for current engineering students through the university?
A: Students have numerous opportunities to be involved in projects. Among them are our High-Altitude Balloon Launch, Fusion Lab, Space Flight Operations Training Center, our clubs and organizations (both engineering and non-engineering), and our honor societies. Many of our students gain an opportunity to complete an internship with one or more of the governmental agencies near campus. These internships often turn into full-time opportunities upon graduation.
Q: Would you like to add any other information about yourself, your goals, or the engineering department?
A: I look forward to supporting Capitol’s commitment to holistic student success and being a valuable member of this team effort.