Having already completed what is probably one of the hardest classes at USC – Mechoptronics – during my junior year (last year), I’m not too worried about the difficulty of my classes this semester. I am now taking AME451 (Linear Control Systems), AME 441aL (Senior Projects Laboratory), AME 408 (Computer-Aided Design of Mechanical Systems), AME 404 (Mechanical Engineering Problems), and COMM 302 (Persuasion).


It’s tough to pick a favorite out of those classes, but at this point in the semester, I’d have to say AME 408 wins out. As a Mechanical Engineering student at USC, you are required to take an introductory class to SolidWorks and SolidEdge (3D modeling programs) called AME 308. AME 408, a class I chose to take as one of my Design Electives, is essentially AME 308, round 2. Since taking AME 308, I’ve always enjoyed working with CAD programs, and actually spent a good deal of time this past summer building aircraft frames and interiors in Catia (another CAD program) for my internship with C&D Zodiac Aerospace (image below).

Airbus A320 Mock-up Frame

So naturally, I’ve really enjoyed AME 408 so far this year. In the class, we are going over some of the more advanced features of SolidWorks that are not covered in AME 308, in addition to learning to use the FInite Element Analysis portion of the program. Doing the homework and examples the professor provides us with in class doesn’t even feel like work to me. At this point, it’s just fun.

Now for my hardest class. Depending on how I define “hardest,” this one could go a few ways. But for the sake of choosing, I think I’ll have to go with AME 404. The class is essentially a MATLAB based class, but a significant amount of work has to be done before the MATLAB code can even be written. So far, we have determined general forms for Upper Triangular, Lower Triangular, and Tridiagonal matrix systems, then programmed algorithms to solve them. And it looks like the class is only going to get even harder in the next few weeks.

As the semester rolls on, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with the fast pace of all of my classes and finish up my last fall semester as an undergraduate student at USC!