Dana Ritchie is an undergraduate at Stanford University studying Product Design Engineering. This major is best described as Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Design. She just finished a course in the Stanford Product Realization Lab (video below) where she learned how to weld, sand-cast, and master other tools in the machine and wood shop. For her final project in this course, she combined steel welding and fine woodworking to make box-jumping tool (video below) for the Varsity Sand Volleyball team at Stanford. Her other favorite class was ME101, in which she created a machine from foam core that could near-automatically complete a series of different tasks. Her machine, made mostly out of foam core poster board material and hot glue, could move without assistance, load a ball into a cannon, and shoot it into a target. (video also below)
Dana wants to be an engineer because she likes building things and analyzing how these things work in order to learn from their successes or mistakes. Her favorite classes in high school were AP Bio, Academic Decathlon, and English courses. These classes taught her to be brave and independent. She also valued her club and varsity sports teams, which taught her the importance of teamwork and dedication.
The best part of college for her has been making things in the Product Realization Lab, connecting with supportive professors, and the community of her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. After college, Dana wants to create products that inspire others and encourage girls to explore Engineering.
- Dana's volleyball jumping box video, built for her ME203 project in the Product Realization Lab.
(Learn more about the awesome Product Realization Lab at Stanford, on their website, including other student project examples, and a great video describing what the PRL is all about.)
- Dana's team's foam core machine video demonstration for her ME101 class.
- If you're interested in learning about Stanford design school's ("d.school" for short) method of learning from mistakes, check out this chart about the design thinking process.
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