Get to know ‘guitar lab,’ the Purdue class that’s changing students’ paths

Experiential learning opportunities are found across campus. Get to know “guitar lab,” the Purdue class that’s changing students’ paths and shaping college experiences for Boilermakers from a variety of majors.

The class, officially named MET 34900, is led by Mark French, professor of mechanical engineering technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Students create musical instruments to understand not only manufacturing, but also project management and problem-solving. Everyone has something to gain from guitar lab.

The class sparks interest, generates enthusiasm and, in some cases, changes trajectories. Alyssa Fernandez, a teaching assistant, switched her major from literature to mechanical engineering after building her guitar. One of her peers, Lyndsay Moye, secured a role at Gibson Brands Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee, based on her connection to French. A student, Keith Lucena, looks forward to finding a career of his own that makes use of the same processes as the guitar lab curriculum.

No matter their background, Boilermakers can step into the room and begin planning and building. Through instruction from French and time in the workshop, innovative lessons are learned.