ME 499: Undergraduate Research Seminar

Reader requirements: At least 5 years professional experience in mechanical, aerospace, civil, or environmental engineering.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information:

Instructor: Prof. Linda P Franzoni

For students enrolled in senior-level undergraduate research. Intended for those pursuing Graduation with Departmental Distinction. Course will give students an opportunity to present research results to their peers and faculty in mechanical engineering throughout the semester, as well as provide exposure to the research of other mechanical engineering seniors.

Student Writing Assignment:

What are students writing? Senior thesis–form of research paper.

For whom? Academics, peers, other mechanical engineers.

Where would such writing typically be found? Research journals.

Why would someone usually read it? To learn more about a research project related to their own or to their field.


Students will send parts of their paper to their readers several times during the semester and arrange a time to talk through feedback with their reader. Each student/reader pair should determine their timeline for the semester together.

The (ME 499) class does not have a syllabus because it meets every other week with students who are working independently with individual faculty on research in mechanical engineering. When the group is gathered together, they exchange ideas about their research (educate each other) and to practice their oral communication skills by making research presentations. Requirements for graduation with departmental distinction require both an oral presentation and a written report at the end of the semester.

Giving Feedback (general information that will apply to most courses):

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More