Instruction of innovative engineering design skills has been identified as an important goal for engineering educators. Some universities choose to delay the design content of their curriculum until the senior year, when the designers can utilize the engineering concepts learned in lectures. This delay is unnecessary as the skills needed for innovative designs can be learned independently from the engineering theories being implemented. The first year curriculum at OSU introduces three design courses, each with a manipulative rich laboratory provided by the TekBots program and staffed by freshman mentors. The three initial TekBots courses explore core topics to our incoming students, which include computer architecture, analog circuits, and digital circuits. Further enhancements to the first year electrical engineering course include curriculum development, increased collaboration with other departments, and development of a high school outreach program.