In Community Project Studios (formerly 'EPICS'), students earn academic credit for participation in multidisciplinary teams that work on projects over one or more years. The course mission is to provide a hands-on, experiential environment, in which students (often alongside community partners) bring real-world projects through to fruition. Although the methodology and projects vary for each studio, all teams in the program are supported through skill-development workshops, close-knit advising, and cultures of peer-to-peer collaboration.

Studio 1: Making to Learn and Serve

Formerly "Time Team"

The Community Projects Studio Making to Learn and Serve group is engaged in a number of projects throughout the academic year, and students have the opportunity to select the one that best fits their interests. A brief description of each project can be found below.

Joseph Henry Scientific Group

The group makes electromagnetism devices for community education purposes based on the physics principals Professor Joseph Henry discovered when he worked in Princeton University.

LEGO Group

Based on Lego NXT and RCX modules, the group is  making AI-controlled robots and testing out basic operations like color recognition and line tracking.

3D Scanner Group

The group uses a handheld 3D scanner to extract dimensional information from regular objects and reconstruct them in the software environment, which is very helpful in the applications of replicating and recovering valuable ancient artifacts.

PDPA Computer Group

The group operates and maintains a  computer with punched tapes as the IO interface, to understand the mechanical and logical design behind it.

Hit & Miss Engine

Restoration of a Hit & Miss engine and its application in the ice cream maker.

Clock Group

Restoration of an old factory clock from Trenton and installation of new features like a face and the driving mechanism.

Piano Group

Restoration of the self-playing mechanism of a player piano

Creo Group

Operate an industry-grade CAD software to design diverse objects and construct them in a 3D printer

Ford Engine Group

Design and demonstrate a prototype of the typical Ford engine in the collaboration with MAE machine shop.

Studio 2: Technology for Developing Societies

Formerly "Design for Developing World"

About 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day and 5.5 billion on less than $10. Yet an overwhelming amount of our engineering resources are dedicated to designing for the top 10 wealthiest percent of the world's population. Technology for Developing Societies' (TDS) vision is a world where engineers, designers, companies, and universities design not just for the rich but also for the other 90%. This Community Project Studio course is a first step in that direction.

TDS gives students at Princeton the opportunity to learn how to design products and solutions for the other 90% through hands-on design projects. TDS is partnered with an organization called Community, Energy, and Technology in the Middle-East (COMET-ME). A half-Israeli, half-Palestinian group of eight people, Comet-ME builds home-made wind turbines and installs hybrid wind-solar electric grids in the poorest areas of the West Bank.

The group is also now starting to move into the water sector. TDS works with them to design products and solutions for the families with which they work. The current project involves designing a new type of open-source, solar powered magnetic water pump. The goal is to create a blue-print for a radically affordable, easily manufactured water pump that could be built anywhere and run in remote, off-grid areas. Picture of the current pump design courtesy of Comet-ME.

Studio 3: CS Education for All

Formerly "Computing Mentors"

In an increasingly digital world, understanding the technology that powers our daily lives has become not just a valuable skill, but a fundamental human right. Yet, access to computer science education is the United States is scarce and inequitably distributed:

  • Only 40% of U.S. high schools offer computer science. [1]
  • Only 33% of computer science teachers have a degree in computer science. [2]
  • Poor and minority students are taught by a disproportionately low percentage of the most qualified teachers in their state. [3]

To this day, the vast majority of American students still do not have access to a single high quality computer science class at any time during their schooling. Would we accept these conditions for other fundamental subjects like algebra or biology?

The goal of this Community Project Studio project is to support local elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers. Participation in this course consists primarily of regular weekly visit, in a team of 2-3, to a local partner school to serve as a teachers' aide in a computer science or STEM classroom. Weekly transportation is provided via Uber and paid for by this program.

Enrollment in this course is strictly limited to 10 students per semester. For more information, please contact Dr. Leyzberg.

[1] Google Inc. & Gallup Inc. (2016). Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/j291E0.

[2] Century, J., Lach, M., King, H., Rand, S., Heppner, C., Franke, B., & Westrick, J. (2013). Building an Operating System for Computer Science. Chicago, IL: CEMSE, University of Chicago with UEI, University of Chicago. Retrieved from http://outlier.uchicago.edu/computerscience/OS4CS/.

[3] Peske, H.G. and Haycock, K. (2006). Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students Are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality: A Report and Recommendations by the Education Trust. Education Trust.

Studio 4: Tiger Challenge

Tiger Challenge is a multi-year, interdisciplinary program at Princeton University with the mission to equip participants and partners with the joint-capacity to design more equitable and joyful societies. In small teams, students and advisers work with nonprofit and government partners to develop lasting innovations to address issues across education, health and well being, equity and social justice, environmental sustainability, and civic life. The program is grounded in design thinking, a body of techniques that unlocks empathy, creativity, collaboration and open-mindedness. Impact through innovation can take many paths, and so can this program: some teams participate in a 10-week, full-time summer immersion experience; most teams participate in the Community Project Studio course (in which Princeton students receive academic credit); some participants may even choose to do independent work as they conduct impact evaluations of their designs. Every Tiger Challenge team is highly supported throughout, receiving the training, mentorship, space, and resources necessary to do this crucial work well. 

Email Victoria Dorman for more information on course enrollment.

How to Enroll

Students may participate for up to six semesters.

Students of all majors (AB and BSE) and class years are encouraged to seek enrollment.

EGR 250 is the first course which students need to enroll into. EGR 251 required in the next semester in order to get credit and receive a P/D/F grade. After completion of 251 students may enroll into 350 and 351, and after completion of 351 into 450 and 451. In order to receive full credit for the course, students must enroll in the 2-course sequence, e.g., EGR 250 and EGR 251. Please note that EGR 251 is P/D/F only, but EGR 351 and 451 are fully graded. Students may participate for up to six semesters (should follow the sequence 250, 251, 350, 351, 450, 451). For questions about enrollment, please email Victoria Dorman.

Students need to enroll into a studio for the project they want to pursue. See the Studio sections below to learn more about current projects.