YPSILANTI – Austin Kauffman stood attentively with several classmates as they looked over and handled a display of plastic items generated by a 3D printer, just a hint at the new printing technology that is quickly advancing a variety of technical fields.
Kauffman, a senior, was one of about 200 students from Plymouth-Canton Community High Schools who visited the Eastern Michigan University College of Technology Friday, Oct. 5 as part of the national celebration of Manufacturing Day.
“It was fun,” Kauffman said as he examined a variety of plastic components and objects such as a 3-D plastic ball. “I got to see a lot of things I don’t normally see. I’m a robotics guy, so I loved seeing all the robotics arms.”
The first Friday in October is the nationally recognized Manufacturing Day. The associated events seek to address common misconceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t.
The College of Technology at EMU served as an education hub for the students, who came to Eastern by bus for lunch and three afternoon sessions after visiting several local manufacturers.
“EMU took the opportunity of Manufacturing Day to connect high school students to the education needed for possible careers in the manufacturing sector,” said Bia Hamed, coordinator of student services for the College of Technology. “We gave students an opportunity to meet our faculty, tour our labs and get answers to questions about various majors.”
The sessions, hosted by EMU faculty and graduate students, offered perspective in virtual reality, information assurance, engineering, product development, simulation animation and gaming, communication technology, robotics, information technology, and unmanned flying vehicles-drone technology. Students also viewed COT labs.
“(This visit) enables us to introduce students to different they things they wouldn’t normally see within our walls, said John Magoulick, a STEM teacher in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. “Many kids don’t know what they want to do at this point; the key is to get them exposed to a variety of engineering areas. I sure didn’t know what I wanted to do at 15 years of age.”
Brooke Robinson, a junior in the Pymouth-Canton Community Schools who works for her father’s construction business, naturally enjoyed the session and exposure to that area.
“This was super cool,” she said after visiting the COT. “We don’t have construction management classes at our school, and I grew up working with my hands, so I really liked the exposure to hands-on work.”
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.