Mash at NIU: Guest Blogger

Here’s a great article about a Navistar employee visiting NIU CEET, written by a guest blogger!

Navistar’s IC Bus platform not only helps get students to and from school but encourages it’s team to participate in STEM outreach programs to help students beyond the bus.
Himanshu “Mash” Angolkar at NIU

Himanshu “Mash” Angolkar, Chief Product Specialist at Navistar, has been teaching a program-managed class to engineering seniors at NIU since 2013.  Dr. Abul Azad, Department of Technology professor at NIU said, “A gap exists between the current curriculum for engineering fundamentals and necessary skills for capstone programs and professional development.”  Dr. Cliff Mirman, Chair of Department of Technology added, “Students need to have a grasp of program management fundamentals to execute their senior design projects.  It is a skill set that needs attention, though is difficult to support based on ABET accreditation curriculum guidelines.  These constraints led us to partner with Navistar to help our students.” Azad also said, “what Mash reinforces with the student is how relevant their senior design programs to their professional careers; fundamentals they learn in their two semester programs are scalable.”
“At Navistar, every day- we encounter challenges that may impact our design, testing, validation and subsequently may impact our cost, quality, and delivery,” said Angolkar.  “Students going through senior design programs often encounter the same concerns, at a different scale, though problem solving methods remain the same.”

Key elements reviewed with the students involve communication, planning/scope development, executing plans, conflict resolution, and risk management.  “He coaches a scalable plan which students can translate over to their professional careers. Q/A sessions keep the class engaged,” said Azad
“Most students at that point are going through a lot of significant life changes; finishing college, trying to find a job, assessing loan debt, etc.  You can sense there is anxiety and excitement at the same time.  Discussing candidly about college and professional experiences seem to help keep them grounded and boost their confidence,” Angolkar said.

Mash talking to students at NIU

As a result, the quality of programs and student dynamics has improved.  Over the last two years, Azad has incorporated key planning elements from these coaching sessions to their daily classroom activities.  Azad said, “It helps the student stay focused on a plan and their key milestone.  The planning process enables accountability and also allows the other faculty an myself opportunities to help remove roadblocks which enable their success.”

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