BALLSTON SPA – October kicked off with a bevy of events tailored for students interested in learning more about technology.
Area business leaders, Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School ( Clean Tech ECHS) students and teachers attended a breakfast and panel discussion focused on millennials in manufacturing Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility in Malta.
The panel discussion gave students the chance to hear from young professionals making an impact in manufacturing and learn about a day in the life of a manufacturer. Panelists shared their stories and offered advice about manufacturing and innovation. Other topics discussed included new manufacturing technologies, the “maker culture,” workforce needs and career pathways.
The panel included representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Applied Robotics, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Simmons Machine Tool Corp.
At Ballston Spa Middle School, members of the Rensselaer Engineering and Science Ambassadors made a return visit to science and technology classes to inspire the students about the role of engineering and technology in society. They shared exploratory activities and lessons they have developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. More than 600 students participated in the science and engineering program during classes where the Ambassadors taught the students an engineering or science lesson and facilitated a demonstration or a hands-on design activity.
The Rensselaer Ambassadors are a group of RPI students focused on inspiring a younger audience to explore the role of engineers and scientists in society. The Ambassadors offer hands-on demonstrations and short presentations at no cost to the school districts to encourage the interest of students in careers in the areas of science, technology and engineering.
This year’s topics included chemical reactions, bio-manufacturing, lighting research, structures and jet engines.
“These opportunities provided by the Rensselaer Ambassadors allow students to identify careers they can pursue as well as what they will need to do over the next several years to achieve their goals,” Diane Irwin, K to 12 science coordinator for the Ballston Spa Central School District, said in a statement. “The Ambassadors provide invaluable perspectives and serve as great role models for our students.”
Students Highlight National Manufacturing Month
As part of National Manufacturing Month this October, Clean Tech ECHS students will participate in a series of regional events produced by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, National Association of Manufacturers, Manufacturing Institute and Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
In addition to the breakfast panel, Clean Tech ECHS senior Julia Amodeo spoke at a press conference about her textile recycling capstone project and experience in the Clean Tech ECHS program Thursday, Oct. 6. The event was attended by Mayor Gary R. McCarthy, elected officials, local manufacturers, educators, and organizational leaders in the field of manufacturing and business. Laurel King, assistant superintendent of curriculum, assessment and pupil services, also speak about Ballston Spa Central School District’s programs and partnerships as part of an week-long set of events highlighting manufacturing in the Capital District.
On National Manufacturing Day, Friday, Oct. 7, 11th grade students visited Simmons Machine Tool Corp. in Albany to see examples of modern manufacturing practices in action. Simmons Machine Tool manufactures specialized machine tools and automation systems for railway wheel set maintenance and production.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, 11th grade students visited Quad/Graphics in Saratoga Springs to learn about the commercial and industrial printing industry including print production and types of jobs in the industry.
There are more events scheduled for the remainder of the month, including an exhibit by 10th graders of their integrated circuit projects Friday, Oct. 14, in Malta as part of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES Manufacturing Day Challenge event in Malta. Students were tasked with creating a special design using at least one integrated circuit along with any one or more predetermined elements that include light, sound, movement, color and alternative energy.
The final event will be held Thursday, Oct. 20 at Ecovative Design in Troy, where 11th graders will learn about the manufacturing of mushroom-based packaging materials and furniture parts.