What is EPICS?
EPICS is a unique program in which teams of undergraduates from a variety of majors design, build, and deploy real systems to solve engineering-based problems for local community service and education organizations. EPICS was founded at Purdue University in Fall 1995.
Each team has a multi-year partnership with a community service or education organization. Projects are in four broad areas: human services, access and abilities, education and outreach, and the environment.
Teams of 8 to 18 students ideally include freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Teams are advised by faculty, staff, and engineers from local industry, along with graduate teaching assistants. Students earn 1 or 2 academic credits each semester and may register for up to four years. Projects may last several years, so tasks of significant size and impact can be tackled.
Fulfilling Mutual Needs
EPICS students gain long-term define-design-build-test-deploy-support experience, communication skills, experience on multidisciplinary teams, and leadership and project management skills. They gain an awareness of professional ethics, the role of the customer in engineering design, and the role that engineering can play in the community. Community organizations gain access to technology and expertise that would normally be prohibitively expensive, giving them the potential to improve their quality of service or to provide new services.
Awards and Recognition
EPICS has received major awards from the Carnegie Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Society for Engineering Education, the IEEE Education Society, Campus Compact, and the Corporate and Foundation Alliance. It was featured in the PBS series Communities Building Community. EPICS has been supported by over $5.1M in federal grants and over $5.5M in corporate and alumni gifts.