@Laura: I am in Naperville, IL. The school districts in the Western and Northern suburbs have some outstanding schools. Of course, the City of Chicago has some of the worst. The cost per pupil in the suburbs is generally $3K to $5K less per pupil in the suburbs. Oh, and we have some of the best physical facilities in the area, if not in the country.
I have participated a little in a group call Technical and Engineering Education (TEE) which is an advisory board. My wife has participated in career days (she is a Mechanical Engineer, and PE who works at a civil engineering firm). It is really interesting to see what the students do with projects and competitions.
I agree that it's great to see efforts to get people involved in STEM at as early an age as possible. I think companies have a great opportunity to help inspire the next generation of engineers and designers through efforts like this. And thanks for including a link to my story about the World Solar Car Challenge, which in and of itself is a great competition to promote design and renewable-energy innovation.
I completely agree with you that students need to apply their knowledge in the toolset they'll use after graduating. That's why our customers support us in expanding our academic support. Good luck with your MS degree. Thanks again for commenting and reading my post.
Bill, it is impresive to see what Siemens is doing to promote STEM education. I have found that many students in engineering schools do not have access to real industrial grade software. The next step is to move that down to High School level. Our local schools have a tremendous STEM program. A number of local school districts are getting together to develop a STEM teacher training facility at a local community college. Much of the funding is coming from industry. They have also bought a high end 3D printer for use by the STEM program in the district.
It is critically important that students learn to use the tools that they will be using in their future jobs. I am doing a MS in Applied Statistics (it's a long story) and we use the major packages, with licenses provided by the school, in all classes. Frankly, with the size of datasets we use in class we could do most, if not all of it, in Excel (and sometime do). Even though we study the theory extensively, we do acutal analysis in packages (like SAS, SPSS or R) and tie the theory back to what is provided by the packages. Something similar is required in other STEM fields if graduates are to be able to be productive early.
Linear guides are one of the most important components required for the design of automated or computer-controlled equipment. Aluminum profile extrusions, used for these guides, can enable designed-in functional features.
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