OEDK – A Hub for Undergraduate Engineering Design!

The OEDK is more than a place where design happens — it is also a hub of activity and a social center that emphasizes creativity and experimentation. The next generation of engineers will face incredible challenges that will require them to have more than a deep understanding of engineering fundamentals — they also must have the ability to work in diverse teams during all phases of the design and technology development process and to effectively communicate ideas. The OEDK offers different programs which give the students opportunities to get a deeper and even more well-rounded design experience.

OEDK Student Leaders Program 

Lab Assistants

To enhance leadership experiences for student engineers, the OEDK  Student Leaders Program.  For this program the OEDK hires and trains student lab assistants to help enforce OEDK safety practices, as well as being onsite during nights and weekends to assist students with their design challenges to ensure safe use of equipment and tools. These are paid positions.

By participating in the Student Leaders Program, our lab assistants are trained using self-guided training modules on specific equipment.  These modules will be used to better train our lab assistants on how to use equipment properly and safely, as well as build up their own proficiency on the equipment. These modules include overview and how-to videos, as well as written instructions, an assignment to be done on the equipment and a grading rubric to ensure that the student’s proficiency is acceptable for assisting other students on the equipment. These modules are also made public for all of users on the OEDK website, so that any users can better acquaint themselves with the proper procedures for using the equipment safely.

There are between 24 - 30 lab assistant spots open each semester -- of those spots, 6-8 are open for new apprentices.

If interested in applying, please contact the OEDK at 

Design and Writing Mentors

In order to support the engineering design curriculum, the OEDK hires and trains student mentors to guide teams through the engineering design process. Student mentors provide critical feedback to teams as they tackle hands-on design challenges and prototype solutions for real-world clients. These mentors specifically support the introductory design course, ENGI 120/FWIS 188, but can also be involved with the ENGI 200 and ENGI 210 courses. The design mentor and writing mentor roles are paid, but they vary in job responsibilities and time commitment. For more information on the specific duties of each role, please view the written job descriptions.

If you are interested in enhancing your leadership experience by serving as a Design Mentor or Writing Mentor, please apply here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Mentor applications are typically reviewed in the 3rd week of April for the following academic year. Follow-up interviews are held during the last week of classes or over dead days. On an as-needed basis, additional applications are reviewed in December for the Spring semester.

SEED - Summer Experience in Engineering Design

The OEDK Summer Experience in Engineering Design (SEED), provides an opportunity to work collaboratively in student teams developing innovative solutions for community and client-based projects. Some program participants will come from the University of Malawi Polytechnic, so all students will have an opportunity to work on international teams! In this program, students will apply problem solving, critical thinking, design approaches, physical prototyping and team collaboration.

This is a full-time 8-week summer program running from June through July providing a $4000 stipend. This program is a collaboration between the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and Rice 360°: Beyond Traditional Borders. Funding for this program is supported by the OEDK and the Lemelson Foundation.

iSEED - International Summer Experience in Engineering Design

Similar to the OEDK Summer Experience in Engineering Design (SEED), iSEED provides an opportunity to work collaboratively in student teams developing innovative solutions for community and client-based projects abroad or with international students here at Rice.  In this program, students will apply problem solving, critical thinking, design approaches, physical prototyping and team collaboration.

This program can vary to being part of the 8-week SEED program or be a 1 to 4 week experience in an international location.


The OEDK and RCEL host a series of workshops that will help students to turn their ideas into physical realities. Called FabShops, these hands-on sessions are designed to teach a range of foundational physical prototyping techniques and grow student’s confidence in building things. FabShops will be led by OEDK and RCEL students who have particular interests and skills as well as faculty and staff where appropriate. Attending any of these events will help you to connect your imagination to your physical prototyping skills.  

Examples of some of the topics of FabShops are: Intro to Hand Tools, Intermediate 3D Printing, Intermediate Laser Cutting, Intro to Printed Circuit Board Fabrication and Intro to Arduino.

INNOVATE Challenges

INNOVATE Challenges are pop-up design challenges which are held with short notice and usually take about 60 minutes from start to finish.  Each time a new challenge is presented, and with the provided supplies and instructions, each team is given a specific amount of time to find a solution for the challenge. Challenges may require physically building an object or prototype, developing a strategy to complete the task, or even formulating a presentation for the task. Some past challenges have included building a catapult using low-fidelity prototyping supplies and using it to knock down a cardboard safari,  making cars powered by balloons or even building a structure to keep an egg safe when dropping from 18 ft! 

Teams are picked at random and usually consist of 3 participants.  Students, Faculty and Staff are encouraged to participate.  Winning team is given a prize.  Keep an eye-out for advertisements for the next INNOVATE Challenge.

Learn more about INNOVATE!

Engineering Competitions

The OEDK coordinates many competitions to enrich leadership, communication, presentation and teamwork skills. All of our engineering students are encouraged to participate in design competitions, both at Rice and nationally.  The two major competitions that are offered by the OEDK are:

Annual Engineering Elevator Pitch Competition - Teams or individuals will present 90-second pitches for their concept. The pitches will describe the designs, the problem or need being solved, the competitive advantages, and the commercial potential of the venture. This competition is open to ANY Rice undergraduate student or undergraduate team with a business concept or idea. Entries may be at any stage of development.  These competitions are often sponsored by Industry partners and Rice alumni. Cash prizes are given to winners. 

Annual Engineering Design Showcase and Poster Session - like our version of an engineering science fair, each year the The OEDK puts on this competition to show off all the great work our engineering students are doing! This showcase and competition highlights many of the school’s engineering design projects and represent our students’ success. The competition is open to all engineering design projects for each discipline of engineering. The evening will host 80+ judges made up of engineering alumni and local industry to help with the poster session competition. These competitions are often sponsored by Industry partners and Rice alumni. Cash prizes are given to winners. 

Student Organizations and Clubs

Many engineering student organizations use and/or are supported by the OEDK.  This is a great opportunity for any Rice student to have a fulfilling engineering design experience.  These clubs are often building devices for developing countries, developing sustainable transportation vehicles and participating in competitions.  

For information on some of these Student Organizations, go to:
Rice Robotics Club
Rice Solar Car Club

Concrete Canoe Club - American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter
Rice EclipseAIAA  - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics student chapter

Support STEM for K-12

The OEDK facility is often used as a host for other Rice organizations and departments who run programs involving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education for K-12.  Many of the students will be exposed to engineering design for the first time by building objects using our low-fidelity prototyping supplies, listening to presentations from undergraduate engineering students, participating in Rice student led activities and learning engineering software.

For information on some of these STEM programs, go to:
Rice Office of STEM Engagement
DREAM- Achievement through Mentorship

Community Outreach Opportunities

The OEDK is often made aware of engineering design activities that are going on in the Houston community.  This is a great way for our students to engage engineering design challenges or education "outside the hedges".  As the opportunities are presented, we communicate them to our OEDK users.  Many times a very specific need or challenge is presented to us.  For these opportunities, we can reach out to Rice engineering clubs or other individuals that may specialize in the activity.  As the maker community grows in Houston, OEDK students are being asked more and more to participate in things like the annual MakerFaire or to present to K-12 students about engineering design.  Keep an eye-out for these opportunities! 

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


Lead Industry Partners