“Being able to take a bus to visit this university ultimately changed the path of my life. Being given the opportunity to see this campus made this university go from a choice that I wasn’t even considering to my first-choice college. Now I am here as a first-year student making my mark as a true Husky” —Jailynn Johnson
In school, spring break is often a time to escape academic rigors and refresh oneself in order to get ready for finishing the semester. However, for some Michigan Technological University students, Spring Break can also provide an opportunity to perform community service.
During this year’s break, nine members of the Michigan Tech National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Pre-College Initiative student chapter at Michigan Tech traveled to Detroit to conduct STEM education & outreach in six elementary, middle and high schools. NSBE’s Alternative Spring Break program, now in its 7th year, has become a tradition. This year’s program was generously funded with corporate support from the John Deere Foundation.
The NSBE college students’ activities included:
- Making presentations to nearly 1000 middle school and high school students about going to college and pursuing STEM majors;
- Conducting Family Engineering events at three K-8 schools for 200+ students and their families.
“The teachers and students both thought the presentations were great and want to invite the students back.” – Kenyano Jones, Principal Detroit Collegiate Preparatory School at Northwestern
San Jacinto College hosted over 4,500 middle school students, teachers and community members at the fourth annual “Adventures in STEM” festival in Pasadena, Texas on March 8-9, 2018. But this is a Michigan Tech blog, so why are we covering news from a college campus 1500 miles south of Houghton?
Since 2015, Michigan Tech has partnered closely with San Jacinto College and local industry to provide thousands of Houston-area youth with opportunities to experience and engage in dynamic STEM activities through hands-on immersion. The collaboration was kindled by a long-standing established partner of both institutions: The Dow Chemical Company. Dow, who has been a supporter of Michigan Tech’s Mind Trekkers since 2013, suggested the success of the Dow Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival held at Delta College would be a good fit in the Houston area. Rob Vallentine, then Global Director of STEM Education and Director of North America Sites Public Affairs, connected Mind Trekkers with Dow’s Houston operations, who identified San Jacinto College as an optimal host for the collaboration.
Four years later, this partnership has reached over 25,000 Houston-area youth, with the annual festival offered in the early weeks of March on San Jacinto College’s Central Campus. In both 2015 and 2016, Mind Trekkers brought down more than 50 Michigan Tech undergraduate student volunteers on Spring Break to anchor the event with activities and demonstrations, as well as provide the spark and energy required to put on a STEM festival. In 2017, Mind Trekkers sent a crew of 15 students and staff with a new mission: begin building a blueprint for San Jacinto College to sustain the event long into the future while Michigan Tech cultivates new partnerships across the country. Prior to the festival, volunteers spent a week constructing over 50 activities that would remain in Houston, and dialogue began on what a spinoff of the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers model might look like at San Jacinto College. Which brings us to 2018, wherein San Jacinto College produced the event on their own, with only three Michigan Tech students and staff attending to offer support and assistance. The San Jacinto College Mind Trekkers launch was a successful event which we hope we can continue to replicate in other communities.
The evolution of the event and partnership has been a pillar of pride for both San Jacinto College and Michigan Tech, and none of it would have been possible without the industry engagement and support provided by the likes of Dow, Chevron Phillips, LyondellBasell, Ineos, Lubrizol, East Harris County Manufacturers Association, and many others that are invested in the Houston-area community.
Michigan Technological University was happy to be invited to participate in the Automotive Talent Acquisition Management (ATAM18) held in Detroit, MI from February 26-28, 2018.
Many thought leaders from traditional automotive companies as well as mobility and new transportation methods were in attendance. As the industry evolves, the traditional “norms” from talent acquisition and recruitment are being challenged by startups, joint ventures, and skill requirements that didn’t even exist before!
Because Michigan Tech graduates work in a broad variety of industries that include automotive, we enjoyed being afforded the opportunity to share our efforts related to STEM-outreach. Our presentation specifically highlighted our Mind Trekkers and Summer Youth Programs and CareerFEST. Each of these programs is designed to provide real-world examples to the students of today to become the mobility employees of tomorrow.
Michigan Technological University and General Motors share a long-standing partnership dating back to at least 1940, supporting a wide range of activities across campus including scholarships, Senior Design and Enterprise programs, student organizations, sponsored research, recruiting support, youth programs, diversity initiatives and more.
As the challenges of mobility and autonomy have continued to reshape the automotive industry, General Motors continues to invest in Michigan Tech students. For the 2017-2018 Academic year, General Motors has provided support for many different programs on campus. One of their newest areas of support is the Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative. GM operates hundreds of manufacturing facilities around the globe producing millions of vehicles a year, each with increasing levels of complexity. Many graduating engineers find their first employment opportunity within one of these modern marvels of production. Michigan Tech’s hands-on approach to problem-solving and interdisciplinary model through the Enterprise Program, led to great fit in providing the world’s next best engineers with the world’s best in class manufacturing education.
General Motors also recognizes that in order for Michigan Tech to attract the best and brightest students from around the state and country, they need to invest in K-12 STEM education. GM’s 2017 funding included support for Michigan Tech’s premier outreach endeavor, Summer Youth Programs, by providing week-long scholarships for youth interested in robotics. They also supported Mind Trekkers, a traveling science and engineering festival, which has impacted more the one million youth since its inception only seven years ago.
Additional support includes:
- Advanced Motorsports Enterprise (AMS)
- Robotics Systems Enterprise (RSE)
- Ride the Waves
- Center for Diversity and Inclusion
- Departmental Industrial Advisory Boards
Thank you, General Motors for your unwavering partnership and support.
In early October, the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers partnered with Dow Chemical to host the fifth annual “Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival”, an event co-hosted with Delta College in Bay County, Michigan. The two-day event included over 150 exciting and engaging STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) demonstrations for 3,600 Midland area middle schoolers and an estimated additional 3,500 community members. It was made possible by support from partners including Dow, Hemlock Semiconductor, MDOT, Nexteer, local outreach organizations, and numerous Delta College departments.
“The most inspiring thing tome was that all of these people take time out of there day to show us what they do for a living.”
Freeland Elementary School student
Our country has a big problem. Industry across the state and nation depends on young people with high-tech skills to grow our economy by solving challenging technical problems globally. Yet, there is a shortage of students pursuing education and careers in STEM fields. You can help solve this and have a measurable impact on student’s interest and engagement with STEM**:
- 100% of teachers felt the format of this event promoted learning and student engagement
- 100% of teachers at this event were offered activities and resources that their classroom normally wouldn’t be able to be provided
- 74% of students are more interested in attending college
- 63% of students are more interested in science
- 54% of students are more interested in technology
- 47% of students are more interested in engineering
- 66% of students think about what scientists and engineers do in a different way
**Data included represents attendee survey from 2017 Dow Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival.
“I didn’t realize all the different things you could make and create as an engineer or scientist.”
Hemlock Middle School student
In order to spark a passion for STEM and to bring events into communities like Midland, we rely on partners like you to host and participate in STEM festivals. Learn how your company can be a Mind Trekker partner and associated benefits here.
Science can be messy. In fact, when you are trying to get middle school students excited about science, it is essential that! But Michigan Technological University’s Mind Trekkers’ don’t mind at all.
On September 22 and 23, 2017, Mind Trekkers visited Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI for their 3rd Annual Science and Engineering Festival. Schoolcraft has enjoyed hosting this event which features rock music, balloons, liquid nitrogen ice cream, fire, explosions, magnets, oobleck, and many very excited middle school students.
Michigan Technological University’s “Mind Trekkers” are a student organization made up of college students that aren’t afraid to share their love of STEM with middle school students. They volunteer their time to help put on Science and Engineering Festivals in communities across the country.
The partnership between Schoolcraft and Michigan Tech has allowed both institutions to help share the hands-on “spark” of STEM education with thousands of students in the Livonia area. This partnership has been facilitated by the generous donations of time and talents from corporate partners.
The 2017 Festival includes sponsorship from:
Michigan Tech’s Enterprise program has received a $50,000 grant from the foundation of a major global automotive supplier. The DENSO North America Foundation (DNAF), a long-time supporter of the University, has provided the funding to support the Enterprise program.
A feature of the Pavlis Honors College, Michigan Tech’s Enterprise program is a collection of student-driven, multidisciplinary teams that work like companies on real-world client projects.
The DENSO North America Foundation $50,000 donation will support three areas within the Enterprise program. The first will provide continued support of the Advanced Motorsports Enterprise (AMS) vehicle development activities. These activities will promote experiential learning and hands-on experience.
The second area of support will fund improvements to the designated design space used by AMS teams focusing on computers capable of supporting today’s design software.
Improvements to the AMS dynamometer, an instrument that measures the power output of an engine, comprise the third area of support.
Joe Thompson, sponsored programs manager in the Pavlis Honors College, says the college and the AMS are grateful to the DENSO North America Foundation for investing in Michigan Tech students. “The automotive industry needs well-rounded engineering graduates who have been exposed to powertrain control, can understand thermal impacts on engine performance and the general manufacturing challenges associated with automotive systems.”
Thompson says students who participate on the AMS teams are developing “significant hands-on experience in these automotive technologies.”
The $50,000 contribution to Michigan Tech is among the nearly $1,000,000 in overall funding to more than 20 institutions and educational programs in North America provided by DNAF. Since 2001, the foundation has advanced the auto industry through grants to colleges and universities, providing students with technology, tools and experiences similar to that of the professional workplace they’ll experience after graduation.
Doug Patton, president of the DENSO North America Foundation and Chief Technology Officer of DENSO International America, Inc. says innovation throughout the manufacturing industry will continue to produce more growth opportunities for students in skilled trades and technical fields.
“Companies will lean on this young workforce for years to come, and in order to succeed we need to empower students by giving a better sense of what they’ll experience in the workplace,”
Now in its 17th year, Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program attracts undergraduate students who are looking to differentiate themselves by taking ownership of a portion of their education and working on projects that closely align with personal and professional interests. The program currently consists of 25 teams and more than 800 students.
The DENSO North America Foundation is dedicated to helping students advance their education in engineering, technology and other related programs
DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. Its customers include all the world’s major carmakers. Worldwide, the company has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 38 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs more than 150,000 people. The company employs more than 23,000 people at 30 consolidated companies and affiliates across the North American region, including Michigan where its North American headquarters resides. Interested in a career at DENSO.
Michigan Tech has developed impactful programs that inspire students to enter the STEM Pipeline, actively engage in their learning and application of these newly acquired talents, and provide them professional skills that will launch and sustain them through their careers.
We provide solutions at every step to the challenges facing our economies thirst for intellectual talent.
During the week of May 8, 2017, Michigan Tech staff traveled to Green Bay and the Fox Cities of Wisconsin to provide an educational seminar on “best practices” related to the Talent Pipeline. This is the second year for this event. In 2016, similar presentations were made in the communities of Traverse City and Grand Rapids, MI.
Between the two events, the team addressed over 100 HR professionals, managers, and engineers managers with information related to:
- Inspiring students to consider STEM
- Giving them tools to communicate their acquired talents
- Development and recruitment of talent
The presenters included:
- Steve Patchin, Director, Career Services
- Amanda McConnon, Assistant Director, Center for Pre-College Outreach
- Jim Desrochers, Associate Director of Industry Relations, Office of Innovation & Industry Engagement
During the two-hour event, the presenters shared statistics from student surveys and highlighted best practices for recruiting. They also had a chance to experience first-hand some of the kinds of activities that make students stop and learn more.
A key component of Michigan Technological University’s STEM outreach efforts is hands-on learning. When Ford Motor Company agreed to help sponsor some programs, it seemed appropriate that the ceremony should be hands-on.
Always willing to help, Ford had one of their Michigan Tech student interns produce an oversized check for the ceremony. The check even featured Henry Ford’s image in the watermark!
After the check presentation, Cindy Protas Hodges (Michigan Tech Alumni and Chassis Supplier Technical Assistance Site Manager for Ford) got to learn first-hand how to make ice cream using Liquid Nitrogen (LN2). We gave her the appropriate gloves and safety equipment and let her get to work mixing a batch of chocolate ice cream.
Our Michigan Tech students are a lot like the middle school and high school students that attend our events – nothing draws a crowd of students like handing out free treats!