Mechanical Engineering


Winter 2023

Discussion of special topics in mechanical engineering important to professional development such as current engineering practices, engineering ethics, codes and standards and intellectual property. Required for all ME majors during the Fall and Winter terms of their Senior year and Spring term of their Junior year as part of the process of selecting their senior writing experience.

Winter term 2023 seminars are mandatory for all of our Seniors and as always other students are welcome to attend if interested.

These seminars will be held every Friday during common hour (1:00-1:45) in OLIN 115.

The tentative schedule will be posted soon.

Prof Rebecca Cortez (

Winter 2023

  • Week 1 - Jan. 6th - Speaker: Lara Atkins - Union College-Director of International Programs

    The audience should be ME sophomores and juniors.

    Please join us for a discussion of term abroad opportunities for engineering students. Lara Atkins of the International Programs office will join us for a conversation about Union's term abroad program. She will be joined by several ME students who will share their term abroad or mini-term experiences with us.

  • Week 2 - Jan. 13th - Prof. Cortez - Union College ME Dept Chair

    "Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties." The American Society of Mechanical Engineers lists this statement as one of the organization's fundamental ethics canons. After completing your Union ME degree, you will find yourself in professional situations which require ethical considerations. Professor Cortez will lead a discussion of engineering ethics and looks forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject. Plan to attend this mandatory meeting which will include our annual ethics survey for ME seniors.

  • Week 3 - Jan. 20th - Shane Nelan and Marianne Bell -- Tech-Ed Systems

    Industry 4.0 and an Introduction to Festo

    This discussion will introduce the concepts of Industry 4.0 and Festo, both of which involve advanced manufacturing practices or the processes involved with fully integrated networked factories. You may be exposed to many of these concepts as you prepare to enter the workforce.

    In addition, insights on what some technology companies are looking for in new hires as well as interviewing tips will be shared.

  • Week 4 - Jan. 27th - William O’Brien Captain, United States Navy (retired)

    “No Good Idea Goes Unpunished” or “The Bleeding Edge of Technology”

    William O‘Brien served our country as a Navy captain with extensive leadership experiences both abroad and in the Naval Reserves. Over his 30-year career his military decorations included the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon, as well as various personal, service and campaign awards.

    After military service, he was the Chief Operating Officer for the New York State Teachers' Retirement System where he oversaw the accounting, stock, bond, and real estate transaction custody, computer division, facility management, insurance, and construction of their headquarters building in Albany and a backup computer site in Malta, NY.

    In his discussion, Bill will utilize both military (aircraft design) and civilian (construction engineering) examples of design vs practical-use experience.

  • Week 5 - Feb. 3rd - Prof. Cortez- Union College ME Dept Chair

    Professor Cortez will discuss multiple topics relevant to ME seniors -- course audits, the FE exam, and department honors. Plan to attend this mandatory meeting which will include our annual exit survey for ME seniors and an opportunity to share any feedback you wish to pass along to Professor Cortez.

  • Week 6 - Feb. 10th - NO Seminar

    Due to the Reamer Building repairs affecting our campus - we are not having seminar.

  • Week 7 - Feb. 17th -


  • Week 8 - Feb. 24th - MER-497 & MER-498 student presentations

    Schedule for our student presentations are TBA.

  • Week 9 - March 3rd - MER-497 & MER-498 student presentations

    Schedule for our student presentations are TBA

  • Week 10 - March 10th -