Rowan Engineering partners with New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, National Guard

Rowan Engineering partners with New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, National Guard

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The Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering at Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, recently expanded its partnership with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (NJDMAVA) and the New Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG) by adding two multi-million dollar projects: an extension of the Building Information Model (BIM) Internship Program funded with $1.8 million and the start of a Facilities Management Internship Program funded with $2.3 million, both covering 10 years.

Both projects provide 10 to 12 on-campus internship opportunities for students throughout the spring, summer and fall that coincide with engineering clinic classes while producing results the NJARNG can incorporate for facility management and planning.

In the BIM internship program, students conduct laser scans of NJARNG buildings, creating a 3D “reality capture” model of the facilities in minutes with accurate results. The scans are then imported into BIM software, where students can plan everything from structural analysis and construction schedules to lighting and plumbing. Students involved in the facilities management internship will conduct similar work.

Samantha Valentine, Rowan’s BIM internship project manager, said the program fosters a mutually beneficially relationship between Rowan and the NJDMVA/NJARNG.

Valentine said, “National Guard energy managers are tasked with more projects than seem humanly possible, so the internship is a way to give students experience, while cutting spending and providing the NJARNG with new perspectives.” The benefit to using students is they are highly motivated and eager to research, learn and try new things, she added. “These students can help with the leg work.”

For the NJARNG, this cost-effective program alleviates the need to hire a consulting firm for building planning projects. The interns use state-of-the-art BIM software to conduct the scans and produce results quickly and at a lower cost.

National Guards from other states are looking into the project and attempting to replicate programs similar in design and function with universities in their area, according to Valentine.

“Participating in this partnership myself, first as a student at Rowan and now as the energy manager for NJDMAVA, I can truly say that this is a win-win for both Rowan and the NJARNG,” said Christopher Moore, “The students are able to gain unique and valuable experience by working on real-world projects, and the NJARNG is able to meet its federal requirements in a cost-effective way while also training the next generation of engineers. This program has been so successful that it won both the 2016 Federal Energy Management Program and the 2016 Army Community Partnership awards this past year.”

Rowan and NJDMAVA/NJARNG’s connection began in 2009 when Rowan launched a GIS internship program supported by the agencies. Since then, the partnership has created a handful of internship programs, including an environmental and an energy audit program.

Jeff Dib, a senior civil and environmental engineering major, interned on the BIM project during summer and fall 2016, working on creating 3D models of various NJARNG armories using geometric data from laser scanning technology. 

“These buildings could be analyzed in a number of ways, most notably for energy analysis, and submitted to NJARNG to suggest energy-saving solutions,” Dib said.

The experience was valuable. “Building Information Modeling is really the future for engineering.  While CAD is still very important and having the skill to be able to work in it is vital, BIM is really where industry is working toward,” Dib said.