The Freshman Engineering Success Program (FESP) aims to connect freshmen to their major department and introduce them to their major and what they can expect as a future engineer. Completing FESP is one of the requirements to be eligible for the Guaranteed Paid Internship Program (GPIP). The bioengineering students in FESP complete an EWH kit, a hands-on project in which they build a medical device and connect with upperclassmen also studying bioengineering. The EWH-UIC officers serve as the teaching assistants during kit building sessions.


The freshmen of Fall 2015 built an optical heart rate monitor that uses a photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor to find an individual’s pulse through the tip of their finger and an LED to visually display heart rate. Students completed these kits in groups of two during the two-hour kit building sessions, attending as many as needed to successfully configure their boards, many of which built their monitors within one session.

Prior to the kit building sessions, freshmen attended a safety session to learn how to properly handle the soldering iron for fixing the electrical components in place, as for many students this was their first experience utilizing one. In addition to attending a safety session and kit-building sessions, the students were required to complete a written report that briefly introduces mathematical equations and concepts related to electricity (Ohm’s Law, etc.).

One of the soldering irons used in SEL 4018.
For many students, this was their first experience using a soldering iron.


A stand holds the board in place while connecting electrical components and soldering them in place.
Closeup of optical heart rate monitor.

The FESP program provides an incredible opportunity to willing freshmen who would like to both familiarize themselves with their major as well as gain hands on engineering experience. If you have any questions regarding the program, feel free to contact the current EWH board.