Colleges team up to offer bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in Bremerton

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Lacey - Saint Martin’s College and Bremerton’s Olympic College have joined forces to offer a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering degree completion program at Olympic College. The new program will be ushered in with an opening ceremony and reception at 6 p.m. June 16 in room 141 of Olympic's Health Occupations Building, 1600 Chester Ave., Bremerton.

“We are very excited about this partnership, said Anthony de Sam Lazaro, Ph.D., dean of the Saint Martin’s School of Engineering and chair of its mechanical engineering department. “It will be convenient for students and will help fill a void in the Bremerton area for a degree that is very much in demand. It’s a good example of what public and private colleges can do to help students when they work together to fill a need.”

Saint Martin’s is an independent, Roman Catholic coeducational college with an enrollment of about 1,000 students at its main campus and about 600 more in programs at the college’s military extension campuses at nearby Fort Lewis Army Post and McChord Air Force Base. The college’s School of Engineering offers accredited degree programs in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, Master of Civil Engineering and Master of Engineering Management. For several years, 100 percent of Saint Martin’s engineering undergraduates have either gone on to graduate school or been hired in their field of study, many before graduating.

Prof. Jeff Brown, Ph.D., who heads engineering studies at Olympic, says Olympic graduates engineering students who are prepared to excel in any engineering program in the nation, making it a good fit for a degree completion program with Saint Martin’s.

“The Saint Martin's 2+2 Mechanical Engineering Program at Olympic College is an incredible opportunity for engineering students in Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties. We have seen tremendous excitement among the engineering students currently enrolled at Olympic college and among prospective students in the community. The partnership with Saint Martin's allows Olympic students to complete their education without moving or commuting to a four-year school.”

The needs of area industries provided impetus for the program, both men say. Management at Naval installations has shown significant interest in the new degree program. Mechanical engineers design and manufacture machines and devices used in almost all fields, including the automotive, biomedical, construction, environmental, aviation and aerospace disciplines. Among the applications are aircraft and spacecraft design; solar and nuclear energy; internal combustion engines; heating and ventilation; fluid dynamics; and robotics and automation in manufacturing.

“This program fits the need, especially at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, to replace an aging engineering workforce with local talent. Private engineering firms are interested, as well,” Brown said.

Olympic has about 50 students in its Engineering Transfer Program and another 50 enrolled in prerequisites, Brown said. Most wish to complete an undergraduate degree. About 15 students will be accepted to the program’s first year, which begins June 16 at Olympic with Saint Martin’s classes in manufacturing processes and fluid mechanics.

De Sam Lazaro, chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ robotics and automation group, is among the Saint Martin’s professors who will teach courses at Olympic. The classes will be taught in the evenings, with students taking labs at Saint Martin’s on selected Saturdays. He said the partnership will enable pre-engineering students in the Bremerton area to pursue their education with fewer commuting hassles.

“Before this, they had to commute across the water to the University of Washington in Seattle or drive down to Saint Martin’s,” he said. “Rather than students going to the college, the program will enable us bring the college to the students.”

For more information:

Anthony de Sam Lazaro, Ph.D. Dean
School of Engineering
Saint Martin’s College
360 438-4553;

Jeff J. Brown, Ph.D.
Professor of engineering
Olympic College
360 475-7738;

Deanna Partlow Senior editor
media relations coordinator
Saint Martin's University
360-438-4541 or

DeAnna Kauzlaric
Public information director
Olympic College