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In looking for "real life" undergraduate student design projects engineering educators may overlook projects which have a "real life" educational purpose within the University. Such "educationally useful" projects can provide the stimulus for very motivating student design experiences. In this paper the concept of "educationally useful" student design projects is formulated and three examples are included to illustrate this concept. The goal of this paper is to illustrate through these examples how the academic environment can provide the stimulus for excellent "real life" student design projects. The advantages of these projects to the student and to the educational process are described.