Creative Kick-Start Funding Kicks Off!

It’s time for our annual Creative Kick-Start program! This program, created by the Engineering Library and the Engineering Technology Center, enables students to develop their ideas into viable products. Funds are generously provided by the Engineering Technology Center.

All Engineering students (both undergraduate and graduate) can submit their ideas for the program. Up to 10 projects will be invited to participate in the program and will receive $500 in funding. This award may only be used in the Engineering Technology Center for materials, tools, and labor. Any funds that are unused will be returned to the program.

So how do you get started?

  1. Think of a problem you want to solve. Do you want to improve the design of a tool you use a lot? Have a solution for the most annoying part of your day? The timeline for the program is approximately 3 months, so think big, but keep things in perspective. 
  2. Find a faculty or staff member to sign on to your project. All projects must have one.
  3. Fill out the application (Due October 29th) and tell us a little bit about your project.
  4. Wait to hear! Our Application Review Committee will evaluate your application and choose up to 10 projects.

Participants will take part in a workshop to help them get started and to receive their Creative Kick-Start RedBoxes. These boxes contain everything the participants need for the program, including timelines for reports, a contacts sheet for the supporting partners, and the funding card that they will use in the Engineering Electronics Shop and Machine Shop. Students will present their projects at the College of Engineering Annual Research Open House.

Applications are due October 29th, so start putting together your proposal now! Do you have an idea you want to submit? Visit the project homepage for more information and to see past participants. If you have any questions, reach out to the Engineering Library. Call us at 319-335-6047, text us at 319-250-2176, email us at, or just come in and ask. 

August 24 is National Waffle Day!

Happy National Waffle Day! Make sure to celebrate by enjoying a waffle or two. Waffles may seem like they are not connected in any way to engineering, but engineering is the science of applied anything. 

We celebrate on August 24th because it was on this day in 1869 that Cornelius Swarthout received the first U.S. patent for a waffle iron. Swarthout however did not invent the waffle – waffles had been a staple of European cuisine since the 14th century, with the first known recipe being recorded in Le Ménagier de Paris by an anonymous author. 

If all of this has made you hungry, don’t despair. Come on in and check out Cooking for Geeks: real science, great hacks, and good food by Jeff Potter and try out a recipe for yeast waffles. As with all baking, making waffles includes chemistry, so just call your kitchen a lab. Real applicable experience! If a Belgian waffle is not your style or you don’t have a waffle iron on hand, you can enjoy some other kinds of waffles – maybe a waffle cone, or even waffle fries (you don’t need a waffle iron for those). 


If you want to get a little more structural, that’s an option too. Modern waffle iron inventors have improved the design since Swarthout’s day, and now your sweet squares can come in just about any shape. You can make a waffle that is definitely not a moon, or build your own waffle tower made of waffle bricks.

Have you celebrated Waffle Day before? What are your favorite toppings? Let us know below!



Newell, T. (2016, March 25). 12 Waffle Facts You’d Be Hard-Pressed To Find Anywhere Else. FoodBeast.

Seidman, R. (2010, August 24). Waffle Iron Patented – Smithsonian Libraries / Unbound. Smithsonian Libraries.

Swarthout, C. (1869). Waffle Iron (94043). U.S. Patent Office.