Developing Sustainable Solutions – previously Shelter Lab

connected set of gears

Global Challenge

A humanitarian effort focused on providing cost-effective, products and services that will empower families and communities in need.This VIP research group will study issues and develop solutions to provide shelter and associated technologies for displaced populations that have experienced man-made or natural disasters. Participants will also develop skills related to ethnographic research, teamwork and team development skills, project management, technical presentations, and design considerations for products and buildings.

Experience Gained

Students will be involved in product development activities such as Market Research, Requirements Definition, Detailed Design, Prototyping, and Testing. While these activities are required to develop the end product(s) involved, it is also important to note that success will also require outreach (to customers/users, suppliers, and investors/partners), reports, presentations, teamwork skills, and project management.

Majors or Interests Needed

We’re looking for students with the one or more of the following majors or interests:

  • Mechanical Engineering:
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Marketing and Market Research
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Business Development
  • Construction Management
  • Sociology
  • Global Studies

VIP Coach Information

LYNN E. CATLIN, PE: After having had a rich career in industry for 20 years, it’s been exciting to be back at a University, helping mentor Engineering students and learning new skills myself. In addition to being one of two Capstone Design Managers for the department, I also fulfill the roles of Department Advising Coordinator and recently have also taken on the CAD Coordinator position for the department. Full bio at

Course Information

    • Full semester course. 1-2 credits for VIP  200, VIP 400, or VIP 500 level.
      Team meetings TBD by participants.

    • The class is treated as a single team, with a rolling set of goals extending out 4 semesters. Each semester, sub-groups will work to achieve various goals required to attain the next major semester milestones. Furthermore, they will be required to participate in the review of current progress and adjust/set future goals. In this way, the members of the project will be fundamentally responsible to assure the successful development of the product according to the major milestones. The students will be assisted and supported by faculty and industry partners.

Here is how to join the team

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Lynn Catlin . To register: search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects.