Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day Two)

Day Two of the M-STEM event held just as much interest and captivated attention as did Day One. You can read about the two keynotes (brief overviews) and poster session winners here: Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day One).  Intensives are a unique way to accomplish a new skill through a more comprehensive format loaded with interactivity and hands-on labs.

There were four intensive sessions that included:

Critical Materials are a set of materials that have been identified as having significant supply risks with no easy substitutes. . Discussion centered around their harvest and production, then how those materials make it into everyday products and finally the recycling of those critical materials. 

The Science of Stuff took a close look at the gaps in traditional chemistry education. Instructors guided their educator peers on how to use solid matter, metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites to find creative ways to fit these into their existing curriculum. Plus a little bit of heat. (See photo below.)


Nanoscience in the Classroom provided a number of novel approaches to helping educators reach students with nanoscience content that can be easily integrated into existing classrooms. This session was organized by Nano-Link, which distributes nanoscience lab materials to educators. 

Pewter Gravity Casting in the Mines Foundry showcased the school’s foundry area and participants learned how casting is used in manufacturing. The class focused on how to safely  handle molten metal and pour it into a mold. Low-temperature desktop heating units were used to show how one could add this to a classroom environment. 

Tuesday’s keynote by Dr. Craig Brice presented the behind-the-scenes details of his Marvel Ironman project that metal 3D printed a complete Ironman suit in titanium. Again, separate post to follow with photos and video.

Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day One) 

This year’s Materials in STEM (M-STEM) event in Golden, Colorado offered educators and students a wide range of materials science hands-on, participative demonstrations, and powerful presentations from well-known experts. Hosted by the Colorado School of Mines and the Critical Materials Institute, the M-STEM workshops were filled with a mix of faculty, staff, and students from the school, as well as the same from out of town.

We have shared a number of photos on The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) Facebook page. MatEdU is a NSF-funded Center housed at Edmonds Community College.

The Monday keynote will be covered in greater depth in a separate post, but Dr. Iver Anderson’s talk on Climate Change, was well-attended, filled with current research findings, and prompted good discussion. Ames Laboratory scientist Dr. Anderson was recently inducted into the Michigan Tech Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Academy of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME). MatEdU shared about this prestigious award on Facebook

Tuesday’s keynote, by Dr. Craig Brice, also captured attention due to his unique project of 3D printing a full Marvel Ironman suit out of titanium. On Monday, he led a short tour through the Mines lab and workshop where he showed behind-the-scenes details of that project where he partnered with Adam Savage, (known for the MythBusters television show) but now the host of a new television show that requested and joined forces with Dr. Brice to build the suit. Again, separate post to follow with photos and video. 

Another lively portion on Day One was the Student Poster Session where students from Mines as well as TEAMM Network member students from Tennessee Tech University, presented their research projects to a panel of judges who moved through the large hall of poster exhibits over several hours. The TTU team won a Third Place award. 

Here are the poster session winners:


  1. Dalton Garrett, Nb and Prior Microstructure Effects on Induction Hardening Response of 1060 Steel 
  2. William Schenken, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Study of Sodium Guests in Silicon Clathrates


  1. Isabella Mendoza, Using Parametric Equations as Inspiration for Dance Choreography
  2. Deborah McGott, Lightweight, flexible power via liftoff of thin film solar cells
  3. Ankit Gupta and Seymour Hasanov, TechBot – A Mobile Multitasking 3D Printer (TTU team) (follow the link for more photos on the project).

To give you a better idea of what you can learn at the M-STEM workshops, you can download the official 2019 M-STEM Workshop Agenda and Schedule. The original “Save the Date” AM News post is here. The sessions and keynotes each day covered topics, such as:

  • Corrosion of Metals…more fun than rocket science!
  • Integration of Workplace Competencies
  • Helping Girls Choose STEM Careers
  • Critical Materials Institute Classroom Toolkit
  • Materials Classroom Labs
  • Superhero Materials (Ironman presentation)
  • Copper Mining and Environmental Recovery
  • Meet Climate Change Challenges with Clean Energy Innovations
  • Glassblowing
  • Nano’s Role in Water Treatment & Filtration
  • Beams & Bridges and Stress-strain Curves
  • Designing Foods with Sugar
  • Hydro Printing

In partnership with Edmonds Community College and the Colorado School of Mines, Critical Materials Institute, The STEM Guitar Building Project, Nano-Link, and Tennessee Tech were sponsors of the event. In addition, here are the exhibitors who shared materials and resources with attendees: FLATE – Florida Advanced Technological Education, ASM Materials Education Foundation, Critical Materials Institute (also sponsor), Nano-Link (also sponsor), and ATE Community.

You can read about Day Two here.

MatEdU Builds Collaborative Internship Model Around Materials Science Skills

AM News regularly seeks stories on projects and programs that help additive manufacturing and materials technicians stay competitive in a rapidly changing job market. The need for well-qualified technicians is a challenge for many industries. As a National Science Foundation grant, The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) is hard at work to bring materials technology education and resources to the nation. 

MatEdU is a TEAMM Collaboration member and earlier this year published a case study on a successful internship collaboration project between academia and industry. This project provides a range of real-life learning experiences that benefit the student and gives educational institutions ways to provide skilled technicians needed by industry. 

Development of Collaborative Internship Model and Partnership with Boeing

Here are some of the issues identified by MatEdU as pressing challenges in the field of materials science technology:

  • The current workforce needs advanced skills to develop new products and infuse legacy products with advanced manufacturing practices using cutting edge materials and technologies and advanced industrial processes;
  • The current aging workforce is retiring at a time when the number of technical jobs is increasing;
  • New workers must be attracted and must develop skills to flexibly meet continuously evolving manufacturing industry demand.

In order to start working on these challenges, MatEdU, Edmonds Community College, and The Boeing Company together proactively developed a Collaborative Internship Model as a strategy for addressing the need for skilled technicians in the aerospace workforce. Research by The Boeing Company looked at the following kinds of needs assessment questions:


  • How many engineers, scientists, and technicians do we need in our foreseeable future?
  • What skills and knowledge will they need?
  • How do we attract the next generation technical workforce that possesses a much broader multi-disciplinary and systems engineering perspective?
  • How should we enhance our technical educational system?
  • How do we attract and retain a student population reflecting the demographics of our diverse society?




After identifying core challenges from the research findings, a pilot program was designed and developed in collaboration with academic (MatEdU and Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood, WA; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA) and industrial partners (The Boeing Company, and Boeing’s Materials and Process Technologies division, Seattle, WA) and implemented with a two-year community college in the professional technical division. 

Known as the Educational Experiential Learning Exposure Internship (EELEI) , the program was targeted at closing the technician workforce gap. With the increasing use of advanced composite materials in the design, testing, and repair of products like the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing has a constant need for qualified and experienced materials science technicians to replace a specific segment of its aging technical workforce. The Collaborative Internship Model supports and complements the Materials Science Technology (MST) program, a 2-year Associate of Applied Science-Transfer degree focused on materials science technology at Edmonds Community College.

Since 2008 approximately 74 students have successfully completed the internship program. About 45 interns have been hired full time. About 10 interns have gone on to a 4 -year institution – five of those are still with Boeing. Prior to 2015 most of the interns worked part time by having their summer internships extended until graduation. 

If you want to check out a number of the MatEdU Resources, then visit this specific Instructional Resources page where you will find a number of categories. To find this paper, scroll down to the last section: Papers & Publications and then “MatEdU Collaborative Internship: a Case Study of our collaborative internship model for education and industry” is listed there.

Or simply download it directly here (depending on your web browser and settings, the file may automatically download or your computer may ask you if you want to download it). 

Multi-Institutional Collaboration in Additive Manufacturing

Collaboration is a terrific way to learn and during the 2018 Fall semester, five students from two community colleges and one university worked together to share their design and additive manufacturing (AM) facilities and capabilities. Three students were from Tennessee Tech University, one from Sinclair Community College, and one from Somerset Community College.

NSF TTU Collaboration Bottle Opener Before After

The goal was to join forces to allow teams to leverage skills gained in different courses, improve design competencies, and have an opportunity to apply them in the lab. Before that, however, design files were evaluated and modifications suggested, when appropriate. One of the student teams studied technical drafting in one community college’s design course, while the other two institutions opened the doors of their AM labs so that students can take that design knowledge straight to a 3D printer.

Project Evaluation: Students’ Perspectives

When asked about the part of the project that they enjoyed the most, the students stated the following:

      • 3D printing in different machines and materials
      • I helped and recommended design changes to optimize the part, especially the bottle opener side. I recommended to reinforce the area with more stress concentration
      • The redevelopment of the opener was a great aspect because it showed me how a real product would work through the design process and how to change and fix problems
      • Testing to see what worked best
      • The design phase

The students indicated having learned invaluable lessons from the bottle cap opener project, to include the following:

      • Design is not about looks;
      • It is about functionality;
      • How to efficiently optimize the part with the help of CAD software;
      • The redevelopment stage of designing and how the first design will always change;
      • Iterative designs are great for improvement of the end product, and;
      • Ergonomic design techniques.

Using a simple bottle cap opener, students sought to see if they could improve it with design and 3D printing skills (image above of the before and after designs). In addition to the design and printing revisions that helped students achieve a functional finished product, students improved design skills, plus they gained other unique soft skills that will help them as they graduate and head into the workforce or further studies. According to the four professors involved (see list below), from an evaluative standpoint, overall, the project was a success. Both the faculty and students were satisfied with the process and product.

Using this innovative bottle cap opener (image above of the before and after designs), design and 3D printing skills were increased for students and faculty members in this practice. In addition to the design and printing revisions that helped students achieve a functional finished product, students gained other unique soft skills that will help them as they graduate and head into the workforce or further studies. According to the four professors involved (see list below), from an evaluative standpoint, overall, the project was a success. Both the faculty and students were satisfied with the process and product.

      • Dr. Ismail Fidan, Tennessee Tech University
      • Dr. George Chitiyo, Tennessee Tech University
      • Mr. Eric Newland Wooldridge, Somerset Community College
      • Mr. Thomas Singer, Sinclair Community College

The project team also filed a provisional patent application on the Universal Bottle Opener created and designed as part of this collaboration (which we highlighted here on AM News). In addition, the paper provides a terrific case study on the design progression and step by step iterations of the bottle opener. You can download the full ASEE paper for this multi-institution project, including student feedback and learning outcomes.

This project has been funded by NSF Award Number 1601587 entitled AM-WATCH: Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub.

Mark Your Calendars: Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series Fall 2019

The golden eagle is one of the fastest and most agile raptors in North America. As the mascot for Tennessee Tech University (TTU), it is completely appropriate and logical that a majestic bird of prey with a metal material in its name would be used by Dr. Ismail Fidan as he continues to build the Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series for Fall 2019.

With a wide range of additive manufacturing subject matter experts, this workshop series features AM advances, industry innovations, design thinking and materials usage.

This is the eighth semester of lectures organized by TTU and Dr. Fidan. Here are the upcoming virtual lectures that you will want to add to your calendar this fall. The lectures are scheduled for 11—11:30 a.m. CST and can be joined via Zoom at that time.

    • Thursday, Sept. 26: Generative Design Will Change the Future of Manufacturing with Shashi Jain, Strategic Innovation Manager at Intel Corporation, Portland, Oregon.
    • Thursday, Oct. 17: Sustaining Accessibility for Kids’ Creativity with Additive Manufacturing with Pisut Koomsap, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani, Thailand.
    • Thursday, Oct. 31: Design and Additive Manufacturing of Porous Titanium Scaffolds for Optimum Cell Viability in Bone Tissue Engineering with Bingbing Li, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management, California State University, Northridge, California.
    • Thursday, Nov. 7: FDM based Metal Additive Manufacturing with Haijun Gong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia.

If you want to know how TTU fully embraced their “Golden Eagle” mascot, you can read the full story here. The Golden Eagle is a terrific reflection of the engineering department ethos that its faculty, staff, and students would be driven to show manufacturing and materials excellence in their work — with block tin, gold, and many other materials and methods.

On February 14, 1925, the nickname ‘Golden Eagles’ was officially adopted. It wasn’t until 27 years later that a tangible mascot found its way to the campus. Several Tech students braved a driving night rainstorm to pilfer a huge block-tin eagle statue from the charred ruins of a resort hotel in Monteagle. They painted the creature – with a wingspan of over six feet – a glistening gold, and suspended it from the rafters for public inspection at the following day’s basketball game in Memorial Gym.”

Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Virtual Lecture Series is partially funded by the NSF Award 1601587, “AM-WATCH: Additive Manufacturing-Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub”. The archive of past Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Virtual Lectures is found here.