General Motors sponsors Orlando School program |

General Motors sponsors Orlando School program

DEARBORN, Mich., March 13, 2008 — The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) announced today that General Motors will sponsor its fifth annual Bright Minds Mentor Program. As a part of the program, 50 Orlando School Districts' high school students will participate in the customized program while attending the SME RAPID 2008 Conference & Exposition at Disney's Coronado Springs on May 21, 2008.

Since 2003, the SME program's ongoing mission has been to give promising technology-oriented high school students opportunities to learn about additive manufacturing and rapid development technologies from industry-expert mentors. The Bright Minds Mentor Program originated from SME's Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community in 2003 and is led by a distinguished panel of dedicated SME members and volunteers.

One of these leaders is General Motors Senior Researcher, Patrick Spicer. "We see this as a great opportunity to get students interested in technical fields that are crucial to the automotive industry like engineering and manufacturing. That's one of the reasons why we're glad to be a part of this program. General Motors is always looking for talented people with strong backgrounds and expertise in technical areas."

Bright Minds alumnus Thomas Ballard can attest to the lasting impressions the program had on him. Just two years ago, Ballard was admitted to the program as a high school senior and paired with SME Member, Bright Minds Mentor Program Leader and President of MET-L-FLO, Carl K. Dekker. With Dekker's help, Ballard became well-versed in ever-changing rapid prototyping technology in just one afternoon.

"I spent hours with Mr. Dekker and the other student assigned to him walking around the show floor and absorbing everything there. Before coming to the conference I had no knowledge whatsoever of rapid prototyping. Afterwards, I felt that I was almost an expert on the subject. Each booth had something cool and interesting to see."

The program also made it possible for Ballard to not only see rapid prototyping in action at Walter Reed Army Hospital, but parlay an internship with Dekker's full-service prototyping company, MET-L-FLO, Inc., as well.

Before beginning his internship with MET-L-FLO in Illinois, Ballard visited Washington, D.C.'s Walter Reed and learned how medical applications of 3D prototyping are helping our soldiers in combat. Using rapid prototyping processes including an MRI scan, then CAD data, and finally a 3D printer, doctors were able to create a life-size model of wounded veteran's leg.

"The surgeons used the model to plan needed surgery and ultimately reduce operating table time by four to six hours."

Once at MET-L-FLO, Ballard was able to make a prototype of a stealth fighter he had designed during his last semester of high school.

"We enjoyed helping Thomas take his design from concept to 3D reality. He's bright and intuitive and just the type of young innovator we would like to hire." said Dekker.

Ballard concluded, "All in all, my experience with participating in the Bright Minds Mentoring Program was spectacular."

He secured admission to the ongoing program by writing an essay about his career interests and what he wanted to achieve – a tradition that continues for this year's Bright Minds Mentor Program. This year's application process is already underway and interested students also have submitted completed surveys. Based on their essays and responses, the soon-to-be selected 50 students will be matched as closely as possible to their industry-expert mentors and be given a "padfolio" filled with industry-related materials and scholarship information on the day of the arrival.

This year's Bright Minds Mentor Program will kick off with an overview by industry consultant and analyst Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, Inc. and over the course of the day, these students will attend conference sessions, tour exhibits featuring computer aided drawing demonstrations, and learn rapid technology's influence on dental and medical applications as well as aerospace industry advancements. In particular, some of these sessions will focus on exciting uses of rapid prototyping to build craniofacial and orthopedic implants as well as 3D scanning processes for burn victims.

At the program's end, students are encouraged to complete surveys of what they learned and provide feedback. Finally, each participating high school's library will receive a CD-ROM highlighting SME RAPID 2008.information Several of the top prototyping equipment manufacturers also will loan equipment and provide materials to the schools for the next school year.

This practice encourages the students to use the equipment, create models and get first-hand experience with the equipment that they learned about at RAPID 2008. The exposure to the technology is an added bonus to the schools participating. They are allowed to test drive the equipment and the students gain valuable experience in a prospective career field.

"I really enjoy mentoring," said Gary S. Rabinovitz, RP (Rapid) Lab Manager, Reebok International. "After being in the rapid industry for almost 10 years now, it is a pleasure to share the knowledge that I have gained with the future industry leaders. I'm very happy that I have been involved for the past two years and would love the opportunity to continue."

And while the non-profit SME developed and manages the Bright Minds Program, Executive Director and General Manager Mark C. Tomlinson acknowledges that its continuation would not be possible without support from global manufacturers like General Motors.

"We are grateful to GM for its generosity and interest in supporting this year's Bright Minds Mentor Program and SME's foremost mission: developing the next generation of manufacturing innovators."

About General Motors:
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries.

About the Bright Minds Mentor Program:
The Bright Minds Mentor Program originated from SME's Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community in 2003 and is managed by a distinguished panel of dedicated SME members and volunteers. Its leaders are: William Beaver, PE, York Technical College; Carl Dekker, MET-L-FLO, Inc.; Dalong Gao, General Motors; Timothy J. Gornet, University of Louisville; Douglas Mitchell, Ford Motor Company; Ken Patton, Saddleback College; Jeff Raquet, PhD, University of North Carolina; Patrick Spicer, General Motors; Michael Siemer, Mydea Technologies Corp.; and Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates, Inc.

About the RAPID 2008 Conference & Exposition:
RAPID is North America's largest annual rapid manufacturing conference and exposition. The event brings buyers, sellers and end-users of design, prototyping, tooling, and direct manufacturing technologies together in an environment that facilitates networking and business interaction. Attendees can evaluate the latest materials and machinery, compare processes, talk to industry experts, and make valuable contacts.

About SME:
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers is the world's leading professional society supporting manufacturing education. Through its member programs, publications, expositions and professional development resources, SME promotes an increased awareness of manufacturing engineering and helps keep manufacturing professionals up to date on leading trends and technologies. Headquartered in Michigan, SME influences more than half a million manufacturing practitioners and executives annually. The Society has members in more than 70 countries and is supported by a network of hundreds of technical communities and chapters worldwide.
Did you Enjoy this Article?

Check out our free e-newsletters
to read more great articles.

Subscribe Now
Back to top
Posted in: