Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology (SiMT) Serves Entrepreneurs

In Florence, South Carolina, there is a strong emphasis on smart manufacturing. Based on the AM News post about how community colleges are innovating and incubating new ideas and companies (see end of post for link), it is clear that the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology (SiMT), a division of Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), also knows how to build up entrepreneurs.

On March 19th, the SiMT is hosting Entrepreneurship Day 2019 (register by March 17). According to a SiMT newsletter, participants will “Understand how to start and build a company by working with professional service providers. Speakers will be presenting in this exciting day-long event at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology. Resource partners and experienced entrepreneurs specializing in Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets, Employment, Economic Security, Social Media Marketing and Finance.”

The event is open to anyone who is currently in business or thinking about starting a new service or developing a product, as well as established businesses wanting to stay current in their industries.

In addition to the entrepreneurial focus, the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology houses the most advanced additive manufacturing center and 3D virtual reality production studio in the region. It is comprised of six business units: Gould Business Incubator, Additive (aka 3D printing), Advanced Machining, Virtual Reality, The Listening Center, and Event Hosting and Conference center. The Institute’s staff engineers routinely work with FDTC to help conceive products, manufacture precision parts, and produce virtual training experiences for students and the community.

Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) has 6,000 curriculum students and FDTC has 22 programs that have at least a 75 percent student job placement rate upon graduation in a field related to their major. Its campus started with 10 acres in 1963 and has expanded to nearly 240 acres with a modern complex of eight major buildings totaling nearly 350,000 square feet, including the SiMT which is less than two miles away.

If you are interested in how community colleges are helping students to consider an entrepreneurial venture as a career option, check out this post: Community Colleges Are Innovating and Incubating New Ideas And Companies. It includes links to a new book published with the support of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE): Community Colleges as Incubators of Innovation: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Communities and Students by editors Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D. and Ron Thomas, Ph.D.

Interested In STEM? Social Media Paths Into Materials Science, STEM, 3D Printing

Social media provides a terrific way for students to keep up with their peers and academic concepts as they progress in their chosen degree and field. It also gives educators the means to engage at deeper levels with students, but also to simply see what others are doing and how that might impact teaching and mentoring.

There are so many groups, pages and messaging opportunities within Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and informal groups within ad hoc group messaging or via a Slack Channel, the increasingly popular collaboration hub. There is no shortage of social outlets where you can advance your knowledge of your chosen career or interest area.

The TEAMM Network works to keep up with its member’s activities on social media. Many of the educators and institutions within the TEAMM Network are deeply involved with finding ways to share their expertise in STEM fields. Here are a few:

♦ Our sister organization, The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) is a NSF funded center housed at Edmonds Community College, recently created a new Facebook page curating the latest Materials Science innovations.

♦ TEAMM Network member, Dr. Ismail Fidan at Tennessee Technological University, started a LinkedIn Group called STEM ER[Educators & Researchers] that is filled with well over 36,000 members, many are quite active. “’STEM Educators & Researchers’ group links the research and education professionals in ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ fields.”

♦ 500-plus educators connect on the 3D Printers in the Classroom Facebook group and it is worth a visit for creative ideas and to learn how others integrate 3D (and materials) into their classrooms. On a more international basis, 3D Printing Industry runs an active and popular Facebook page for keeping up with the latest news and tech reviews.

This short video showcases just a few recent posts highlighting how the sharing of information can be a good thing to keep you “in the know.” If you are actively running a social media group or page of some type on materials science, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, please email us with a link and some details.

Additional Resources: Here are three excellent blog posts on how educators are integrating social media (or not) into their classrooms.

  1. What Do Statistics Reveal About Educators and Social Media? (this post was highlighted in the short video in this post.)
  2. Social Media Classroom Use & Statistics
  3. Some Interesting Statistics & Facts on Social Media in Education You Must Know

Community Colleges Are Innovating and Incubating New Ideas And Companies

As the world changes, education moves to change with it. A new book on the power of community colleges to serve as new business incubators and innovation centers is about to hit the marketplace. Community Colleges as Incubators of Innovation: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Communities and Students by editors Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D. and Ron Thomas, Ph.D. offer a collection of expert contributors’ thoughts.

With the support of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), they “start from the premise that community colleges are uniquely positioned to lead entrepreneurial initiatives through both internally-generated curriculum design and through collaboration with the local entrepreneurial community to build bridges between the classroom to the community which in turn can offer models of implementation and constitute a network or support system for students. Community colleges can become incubators of innovation, a magnet for talent, and provide the impetus for development strategies that their communities have not begun to realize.”

At AM News, we hear about a lot of projects helping students to complete their degrees or certificates and get into the workforce. Colleges within the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) project actively work to advance technician education, particularly in materials science (and the adaption of ASTM skills standards).

TEAMM Network member schools are actively building makerspaces, innovation hubs, and entrepreneur research experiences, just to name a few of the concepts. In fact, we have profiled a number of them from Tennessee Technological University (TTU), University of Louisville (its Rapid Prototyping Center), and The Facility makerspace at Edmonds Community College.

TTU is consistently active in developing unique projects to engage students in an entrepreneurial way. Dr. Ismail Fidan is the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on numerous NSF Grant awards to keep these college-age innovators on their toes. Check out two of the TTU entrepreneurial initiatives coming out of the College of Engineering:

Community colleges continue to adapt to the ever-changing job market. These entrepreneurial incubators and related coursework, as well as micro-credentials in the form of certificates, are providing students with more new startup ideas (and mentoring for those ventures) as well as work opportunities. If you wonder if today’s college programs are preparing students for the future of work and business, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

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NOTE: The new book from NACCE is available on February 28, 2019. *Receive 20% off your preorder by using the code NACCE8 at checkout. Offer expires February 28, 2019.

International Day Of Women And Girls In Science

Last week marked the fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In 2015, the United Nations established a resolution to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of women in the sciences. The resolution also has the additional goal of encouraging the next generation of young women to pursue and solve new scientific challenges.

Screenshot of UNESCO Intl Day of Women Girls in STEM website
Screenshot of UNESCO Intl Day of Women Girls in STEM website

There are many worldwide and US-based initiatives designed to create gender equality in the sciences (as well as in all STEM fields). The United Nations estimates that “less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.” The celebration is jointly coordinated between the UN-Women and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in collaboration with many institutional and civil organization partners.

Within the Additive Manufacturing and Materials Science disciplines, there are many female students entering these fields. In the US, many programs have been actively working to increase their female student enrollment in STEM degree programs. (I still need to confirm some examples, rewrite). We reached out to a couple of young women about their decisions to enter a STEM career.

At the University of Louisville, Kate Schneidau, a Mechanical Engineering Student and Engineering Co-op/Intern at RPC and AMCC, shared how she decided on a career in additive manufacturing:

“I grew up surrounded by STEM. I am a 3rd generation engineer and have known since I was young that this is the career path I wanted to take. My interest in additive manufacturing (AM) came after an opportunity arose for a cooperative intern position at the Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) at the University of Louisville. Through my work there and now at the Additive Manufacturing Competency Center I have found a passion for AM. I am excited to work in collaboration with other engineers to engage in discussion on how to implement and expand the knowledge base of AM. As a senior engineering student looking at full-time positions I am only looking at positions that allow me to engage directly with AM in industry and expand upon my knowledge.”

Ashley Totin is a project engineer at America Makes and she shared a bit of her additive manufacturing and education journey with us.

“I always loved making and building things, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that “Engineering” was introduced to me. I loved science and math, and my high school teacher pulled me aside after class one day and asked if I ever looked into engineering. At that point in my life, I didn’t know much about engineering and thought that it was a dirty job that only men did. I discovered this was not the case, as there were a vast number of engineering fields. I decided to go into industrial and systems engineering and never looked back. I fell in love with manufacturing, the concept that everything we touch and see on a daily basis has been through a manufacturing facility. This then led me to discover additive manufacturing and America Makes, the national additive manufacturing innovation institute located in Youngstown, Ohio a short distance from the college I was attending. I instantly developed a passion towards this technology which led to teaching students and teachers about the technology, conducting a master’s thesis focused on AM and going on to have a career in AM. The possibilities for the younger generation are endless. These new technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution provide a cleaner manufacturing environment and an exciting future.”

The fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an important, but growing part of the overall effort taking place worldwide to close the gap around improving recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in STEM fields. Many TEAMM Collaboration Network partners support this significant work.

You can learn more at the UN Women and UNESCO pages, here and here.

Advanced Materials and 3D Printing at World Economic Forum

Davos.

Each year, thousands of people gather at Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF). With a theme that impacts our AM News readers this year (and beyond), Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we wanted to encourage you to look at two priority areas for WEF: advanced materials and 3D printing.

We compiled and shared this short overview video on our Materials Education Facebook page (come visit, like our page, and learn more about materials science):

The World Economic Forum is looking at the large, global picture of society and business. But their research initiatives are well-funded and reveal many details that can help you in your educational endeavors, both for teachers and students. We encourage you to dig in on their Advanced Materials page as well as the one on 3D Printing. We will continue to share insights and new findings here as we uncover them.

According to the WEF site, “Participants drawn from all over the world and from every sphere of influence: business, government, civil society, academia, arts and culture, and media… Leaders and luminaries including Sir David Attenborough, Shinzo Abe, Angela Merkel, Prince William, and Jacinda Ardern will gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2019.”

Although the 2019 event is now done, the WEF continues to work on a variety of important issues, from the above-linked Materials work to other important topics aimed at building a better global future.

NOTE: Of course, you can also find many news updates and resources on the pages of the TEAMM website and in our regular AM News posts, particularly this one on 3D Printing training for teachers via the TTU AM-WATCH program