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

Smart Manufacturing NSF Funding Demonstrates Collaboration Across College Programs

In late summer 2018, the Motlow State Community College (MSCC) in Tennessee and Mechatronics Professor Khalid Tantawi was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education project grant to advance Smart Manufacturing concepts. Joining that $545,000 grant project as a Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Ismail Fidan, from Tennessee Tech University and a TEAMM Network member.

What is Smart Manufacturing?

In recent years, organizations, such as, The World Economic Forum has been studying the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” also known as Industry 4.0, or in the USA – “Smart Manufacturing.” It seeks to change how we currently manufacture by employing advanced sensors, computer controls, big data (and the modeling and analysis of it) and other automation technologies to make manufacturing more efficient.

According to a release from MSCC, “The project, titled “Smart Manufacturing for America’s Revolutionizing Technological Transformation” will feature Motlow as a national hub for training Smart Manufacturing for Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing educators across the nation.” You can learn more about it here.

Image Courtesy: Motlow State Community College

One of the successful aspects to many National Science Foundation grant projects is that the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program creates opportunities to collaborate across multiple educational institutions and disciplines as well as between professors at those schools.

The TEAMM Collaboration Network is a terrific example of this cross pollination with its diverse 30-plus network members across 2-year community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, as well as other education, nonprofit, and corporate entities. The smart manufacturing project with Motlow is clearly an example as are programs like another Dr. Fidan project profile here on AM News: Additive Manufacturing – Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH). Or head directly to Dr. Fidan’s profile which lists the many ways that he collaborates with and supports his colleagues at TTU, TEAMM Network Members and other institutions.

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To learn more about the larger ATE program, you can go here. But here is part of the summary of the program from the website:

With an emphasis on two-year Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions (grades 7-12, IHEs) and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities. The program invites research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. It is expected that projects will be faculty driven and that courses and programs credit bearing, although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

SMARTT or Smart2 project team includes:

  • Khalid Tantawi:  Assistant Professor of Mechatronics in Motlow State Community College, Smyrna, TN
  •  Ismail Fidan: Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
  • Karen Birch: Professor at Tunxis Community College and director of the NSF ATE funded Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, Connecticut.

The goals of the project will be to:

  • Create educational modules and workforce development tools on Smart Manufacturing
  • Identify the skill sets and needs of Smart Manufacturing professionals
  • Develop a repository that serves as a knowledge base for industry and STEM educators
  • Increase awareness about Smart Manufacturing
  • Develop a knowledge base of best practices for Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) site visits

Workforce Development and Training at Edmonds Community College

As 2019 gets into full swing, it is good to recap a few of the many contributions that materials technology education brings to our community. Edmonds Community College is home to the The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU), The Facility makerspace, and a host of other programs and initiatives. In addition, it is where the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials project, also known as TEAMM, sponsor of this AM News site, is based.

Materials Technology Education is a big focus at Edmonds and the recipient of nearly $11 Million in grant awards from the National Science Foundation (since 2000). The two nationally known projects listed and linked above are also augmented by many other Workforce Development and Training efforts in the region (the Edmonds Community College Workforce page is a good resource). Not all of them are specifically about additive manufacturing and materials science, our focus at AM News, but all of them serve to help students reach their goals for education and a career.

Some of the focus areas:

  • The M-STEM national workshop takes place at a different location each year offering educators and students a way to learn about or teach materials science.
  • The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) located on the second floor of Lynnwood Hall in Room 215, offers a variety of benefits for veterans starting or returning to college. Executive Director, Chris Szarek, recently joined in the special Veterans Day Weekend Guitar Building Institute Workshop, helping current students and community veterans as they practiced material science as they built electric guitars.
  • The Facility, one of the first makerspaces to give access to both Edmonds Community College students and area residents who want to utilize this cutting-edge manufacturing lab. It includes a Rapid Prototyping lab (3D printers and laser cutters), Autoclave, CNC Mills and Router, Computer Design Lab, and a Composites Lab; just to name a few of the machines available to students and community members. More informal training occurs in many of the courses offered as part of the user experience.

As 2019 steams forward, remember that Monroe Hall and many other efforts at Edmonds Community College are creating or are part of larger Workforce Development and Training initiatives in a local and regional way as well as at the Washington State level. Check out your local community college for programs and projects that will help you in your career development.

New Book Addresses Skills Gap In Manufacturing Jobs

During a time when manufacturing is changing in massive ways, there is a predicted labor shortage with estimates as high as two million additional skilled workers needed by the year 2020.

Author Sarah Boisvert is co-founder of the commercial division of Potomac Photonics Inc. of Baltimore, Md., where she worked to commercialize a proprietary radio frequency (RF)-discharge excimer laser. She is no stranger to the need of manufacturers to find skilled workers. Her new book, published by Photonics Media Press, The New Collar Workforceis turning the traditional workforce training model on its head.  Armed with 200 manufacturing industry executives’ interviews, Boisvert gets to the heart of the skills gap, and defines a path to engaging, well-paying jobs in the cool digital factory.

New Collar Workforce book by Sarah Boisvert

The “new collar” workers that manufacturers seek have the digital skills needed to “run automation and software, design in CAD, program sensors, maintain robots, repair 3D printers, and collect and analyze data,” according to the author. Educational systems must evolve to supply today’s changing digital manufacturers with new collar workers, and this book leads the reader to innovative organizations that are recreating training programs for a new age in manufacturing, also known as Industry 4.0.

Boisvert is also the founder of the Fab Lab Hub in Santa Fe, New Mexico and as part of her book research and work; she created a Digital Badge program for New Collar jobs. Digital Badges, in collaboration with IBM and Mozilla, is a secure platform to recognize achievement.  The program certifications include:

  • Design for 3D Printing
  • Introduction to CAD Design
  • Fundamentals of SLA 3D Printing
  • Troubleshooting FDM 3D Printers
  • Laser Safety in Manufacturing

Master Badges such as 3D Printing Operator or Laser Service Technician are part of training process that culminates in a stack of Digital Badges that certify a higher level of skill.

The author’s call to action is clear: “We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity to look to the future and fundamentally change manufacturing jobs.  We can show people the value in new collar jobs and how to create nontraditional pathways to engaging, fulfilling, living wage careers in the digital factory. If industry is to invigorate and revitalize manufacturing, it must start with the new collar workers who essentially make digital fabrication for Industry 4.0 possible.”

AM News frequently researches and publishes about workforce training programs (TTU runs the NSF-funded AM-WATCH program that hosted an Additive Manufacturing Studio). If you know of one or conducting one at your institution, we would like to hear from you. Contact information below.