School of Rock at the School of Engineering
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School of Rock at the School of Engineering

This summer, students will have the unique opportunity to make music in the halls of the Bannow Science Center. Dominic Figueiredo, machining instructor at the School of Engineering, will be teaching a brand new course where students will make their own fully functional guitar. 

“This is a colorful and creative way to learn,” Figueiredo enthused. “And you leave with your own guitar, which is just awesome!” 

Figueiredo was able to develop the course after attending a special summer seminar, hosted by the National Science Foundation, where teachers learn how to make the guitars themselves, and then design a course around it. 

Dr. Ryan Munden, assistant dean at the School of Engineering, said, “The National Science Foundation’s goal is to encourage scientific education and research through fun and interesting ways. They sponsor events like these so teachers can learn and then go back and apply it for their students.” 

Figueiredo was excited to both take the course himself as well as design one for students. “The great thing about it is that you can make it as easy or difficult as you need to – like if it’s offered in a short format in the summer or longer during the semester.” To make the guitar, students will use laboratory equipment such as a drill press, band saw, and CNC routers.

No stranger to music — Figueiredo plays the guitar and was part of a band several years ago — the first song he played on the guitar he made (which has Fairfield University’s logo lasered onto it) was A Train Kept Rolling, by Aerosmith. “I’ve had lots of experience with guitars over the years, but I had no idea how to make one. There’s a real sense of accomplishment at the end of this course and I think students will love that,” he said. 

The course will be offered for the first time this summer as well as subsequent semesters. It will be open to traditional students as well as lifelong learners or even diligent high school students. Initially it will be offered as an engineering elective course, but the hope is to eventually include it as a core curriculum course. 

Dr. Munden said, “This course has such great connections between art, music, and science. Students that have taken it at other schools love it. They say it’s the best course they’ve ever taken.”

Image: Dominic Figueiredo plays some tunes on the guitar he made from scratch.

Register for EG 60 STEM Guitars this summer! Class runs June 20 — July 1. For more information on registering, visit, call (203) 254-4147, or e-mail Anyone is welcome (16 yrs. and up), but only the first ten students will be accepted.

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Last modified: Thu, 16 Jun 2016 12:32:50 EDT

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