College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

Welcome to The College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics where all students enjoy personal attention and attend classes that offer an exciting array of scholarly challenges and proceeds. The College produces outstanding graduates through team effort and innovative pedagogy. Service to the community and professional development are entrenched in our mission and strategic plan. Please feel free to contact us at any time should you have any questions about our programs and admission procedure.

Vincennes University provides the best education by selecting faculty based on their ability to teach their area of expertise. You will leave the McCormick Science Center ready to transfer successfully to various four year institutions, including Purdue University, Indiana University, and other elite universities. You can also choose to pursue a rewarding career immediately after receiving an associate degree from VU. We invite you to take a look and see why so many students choose Vincennes University first.

"VU was great for me because of the quality of the instruction, the small class sizes and the nurturing environment." - Eric R. Taylor, VU Alumnus

Learn more about the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Support Staff
Lori Osmon, Secretary
Phone | 812-888-5131
Email | LOsmon@vinu.edu

VU to launch weather balloon on May 9, 2016

VINCENNES, Ind. - Vincennes University engineering students will launch the first of three weather balloons from the Vincenes campus on May 9, 2016 (weather permitting).  Plans are underway for two additional launches, in October and December of 2016. 

The May 9 launch will be at 9:30 a.m. EDT from the Intramural Field behind the McCormick Science Center, located at the corner of Indianapolis Avenue and Chestnut Street.  Following the launch, monitoring will take place inside the McCormick Science Center for what is expected to be at least a 90-minute flight across Indiana.  

According to Elain Dahl, chair and professor of physics and engineering, and Guillaume F. Jaubert, assistant professor of mathematics, these launches will enable students to step outside the classroom and use the atmosphere, and most of the State Indiana, to learn engineering and problem solving.   

“Our country and our region of Indiana are looking for the next generation of engineers to solve current problems and help protect our country.  Locally, the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane is continuing to expand and needs Indiana engineers to solve tough problems plaguing the world.  We see projects such as this as a way to engage students and help them appreciate what could be their role in a highly rewarding career path,”Dahl said. 

Jaubert agrees, noting that “the only way to teach students problem solving and team work is to give them tough, real-world problems to solve in a group setting.  During this project, students will need to plan, build, and execute a project which involves accomplishing a science or engineering objective on a mission to the edge of space, perhaps 100,000 feet above earth, on a high-altitude balloon.”

Supported financially by the VU Foundation’s Wathen Technology fund, the three balloon launch missions will use the StratoStar program, which includes all of the training, equipment, and supplies needed for students and professors to conduct these missions. 

“Students will be responsible for every aspect of the planning and execution of these missions to the edge of space, monitored by professors and teaching assistants.  Teams of engineering students will be given a problem or objective to solve and will also be responsible for the logistics of planning and executing the mission,”Dahl said.

The logistics of planning and executing a mission include:  acquiring the materials and supplies (i.e. helium, balloon, etc.), monitoring weather and flight predictions, managing multiple team timelines, executing instructions on launching a high-altitude balloon, coordinating a search and recovery mission for their payloads over wide geography, and more.  After the mission, students will use software to analyze data from their experiments to draw conclusions that will be integrated into academic papers and posters, just like real-world engineers.

It is estimated that 50 engineering students will be directly impacted during the fall 2016 semester by this project, through enrollment in the required course ENGR 131, Introduction to Engineering.  

“We anticipate a great deal of interest in the upcoming launches by engineers, scientists, VU students across campus, and in the general public,”Jaubert said.   

The StratoStar Program will give students a real-world application to implement the learning from the course.  These missions require students to use and experience many of the engineering disciplines, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and systems engineering.  

“Students will need to draw on their past math and science knowledge to successfully complete their missions.  Most of the problems encountered during the planning and execution of these missions cannot be solved with Google searches and will require engineering problem solving and design processes to find a solution.  Students will be placed in teams and will need to use effective communication and ethical behavior as a member of a technical team to accomplish the mission.  All of these skills are used in industry as engineers work in teams to solve the world’s problems,”Dahl said.

All of the engineering projects will use a combination of off-the-shelf components and custom built components.  These custom built components could be created using traditional tools (i.e., knives, drills, saws, etc.) or the advanced tools and capabilities to accomplish the mission objectives.  Students will have the ability to draw on the resources across campus to accomplish their engineering objectives.  This could include working with the 3-D Printing Lab and Robotics Lab.  

The tracking of these missions is accomplished online through StratoStar’s tracking portal and anyone with an internet connection can participate by going to https://tracking.stratostar.net/mission/0068. 

This allows the students and the public to track the mission in real-time on a map, graph the sensor readings, and follow the mission’s hashtag for updates from the teams involved.  It is hoped that a growing number of students will become interested in engineering and science by becoming engaged in tracking the missions.  

After launch, a retrieval team will follow the weather balloon and bring it back to mission control in order to analyze information about experiments inside the payload.  In the upcoming semester the students will work with other departments at Vincennes University, schools around the country, as well as university and community partners from Vincennes and around the world.

The Wathen Technology Grant was created by Thomas Wathen, a Vincennes native and 1949 VU graduate.  The grant program is designed to assist VU in advancing its educational mission by addressing the technology challenges of the future.  To date the VU Foundation has awarded 42 grants totaling $473,299 in funding to implement Wathen's wishes.  Over the first eight years, the committee's review of proposals focused on and will continue to give strong consideration to innovative and creative ways to advance classroom and office technology.

About StratoStar

Jason Krueger started StratoStar in 2006 with an engineering professor from Taylor University (Upland, Indiana) and has implemented StratoStar Programs in educational institutions across the country.  He spun StratoStar out of the high-altitude ballooning program started at Taylor University in 2001.  StratoStar’s technology and training came from Taylor’s Small Satellite program which used the high-altitude balloons to test space hardware and for training engineering and physics students in real-world projects to prepare them for industry.  

StratoStar and Taylor University won two NSF grants to study the impact these high-altitude mission have on students and the best practices for implementation.  In summary, highly significant growth was found in intrinsic motivation, valuing science, application knowledge, metacognitive processes, cognitive skills, and content knowledge. 

StratoStar provides technical training for professors and teaching assistants on how to conduct missions to the edge of space using StratoStar’s technology and launch procedures.  StraotStar’s staff has already been involved in creating a plan for implementation of the objectives and content for ENGR 131.  The StratoStar Program also includes all of the equipment, supplies, tools, and subscriptions to start conducting missions.  

Vincennes University - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as Indianapolis and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics.  A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17 countries.  Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls.  VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States.  William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory.