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Bright Minds Mentor Program

May 1, 2004

Filed under: additive manufacturing,education,event — Terry Wohlers @ 10:34

Organizers of the Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing 2004 Conference and Exposition are involving students in a way like never before. On May 12, 20 high school students from the Detroit area will attend the Dearborn event as special guests. Each student will be paired with a professional that will serve as their mentor for the day. The purpose of this special program, called Bright Minds, is to introduce youth to new technologies and applications of product development and manufacturing. The mentors will explain the range of options used for rapid product development and will answer technology and career-related questions. The students will be given time to attend conference sessions and witness machines in action on the exhibition floor.

The genesis of the program is the brainchild of computer graphics pioneer David Kasik of Boeing. Mr. Kasik led a similar program at the SIGGRAPH 2003 Exposition in San Diego, California. The Computer Graphics Pioneers sponsored the program for area students. (The Computer Graphics Pioneers is a loosely organized group formed in 1982 to provide historic continuity and a medium for exchanging recollections of the development and application of computer graphics.)

SME staff warmed up to the idea almost immediately after the idea was proposed. It was refreshing to see SME get behind it with the same kind of enthusiasm and determination of those who proposed it. Mike Siemer of Mydea Technologies (formerly of Walt Disney World) agreed to chair the effort and has done an excellent job. So now, all that’s left is for the mentors to begin to shape a new generation of engineers and manufacturing professionals.

Programs such as this one is long overdue. Many who are passionate about rapid prototyping and education have repeatedly expressed the need to involve youth in activities that will familiarize them with exciting career opportunities in engineering and manufacturing. Only then will rapid prototyping and related technologies live up to their growth potential. Thank you, SME and others, for supporting this important activity.