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Dr. Foust Engineers Success for Students

Dr. Foust Engineers Success for StudentsIn a typical class with Dr. Henry Foust, cooperative engineering and physics students might find themselves doing an experiment with temperature sensors in air, cold water and hot water.

Foust, a visiting instructor in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Cooperative Engineering, teaches courses in engineering, such as statics, dynamics, circuits Auto-Cad and thermodynamics.

These courses are part of the University of St. Thomas Cooperative Engineering Program, a 3-2 program, in which students study three years at UST, then transfer to one of the University’s cooperative engineering schools for two years. At UST, the student completes an individualized plan of study that combines a broad liberal arts background with the prerequisites for the engineering program at the chosen cooperative University.

In the 3-2 program, students earn two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics from St. Thomas and Bachelor of Science degree in their chosen engineering discipline at the cooperative engineering school upon completion of both programs.

Dr. Foust Engineers Success for Students“They transfer to an engineering school, such as the University of Houston, Texas A&M University or the University of Notre Dame.” An agreement with the Catholic University of America is also in the works.

Foust said students who are successful in engineering love to solve problems and are interested in the practical side of mathematics and science. During a class in the Electrical Circuits course in January, Foust discussed temperature sensors, and brought in devices to demonstrate concepts.

“My approach is to use a bit of humor in the class, but I also like to use a lot of physical models that includes experimentation,” Foust said.

After they obtain a degree in engineering at the cooperative engineering university, Foust said the skills students learn at St. Thomas prepare them to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

Dr. Foust Engineers Success for StudentsAfter graduating and passing the FE exam, a student becomes an engineering intern for four years, and after passing the professional engineering exam, he or she becomes a professional engineer.

Engineering executives must make decisions that have social and cultural consequences as well as technical implications. Foust said he hopes students will learn, not just the skills on the syllabus, but more importantly, critical thinking skills or as engineers like to call it – engineering judgments.

To learn more about the Cooperative Engineering Program at UST, email Dr. Sheila Waggoner, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Cooperative Engineering, at or call 713-525-3818.

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