Tuesday, August 10, 2010

IME summer workshops reach out to future engineering students

Summer Camp 2010 Design / Manufacturing

For one week in July, thirteen sixth-through-eighth-grade students attended the “Summer Camp 2010 Design and Manufacturing,” IME’s first outreach program for middle school students. For five days, the students spent seven hours at the Parkview Campus, using the labs and meeting the faculty and college students. 

IME Summer Camp 2010 (L to R) Wil Egresits, Dr. Pavel Ikonomov,
and Ian Chu observe Spencer Fatanelli work on an IME Camp project

Drs. Sam Ramrattan, Jorge Rodriguez, and Pavel Ikonomov – all IME faculty – directed the hands-on workshop that focused on “activities that typically take place when a new product comes out,” Rodriguez said.

Among the topics explored were computer-aided design and manufacturing, industrial materials and processes, the application of physics and science in design and manufacturing, and career opportunities.

The students – who came from as far away as New Jersey – spent their mornings designing and their afternoons manufacturing. They took home small replicas of a cannon and personalized desk plaques that they had made in the labs.

Rodriguez has received positive feedback about the camp. The grandmother of one camper said her grandson was exceptionally pleased with what he did and what he learned. “I applaud the IME department, the summer camp faculty and supporting staff,” Evie Asken said in an e-mail. “The organization of each day, the development of project designs and exceptional basic knowledge presented in understandable terms for young folks was terrific. This type of outreach to youth insures the future of your profession and, of course, heralds the reputation of WMU.”

2010 Metal-Casting Workshop

2010 Metal-Casting Workshop: Seated from left Kamaleshwaran
(MFT master's student) and Dr. Sam Ramrattan; Lying on
table- Zack Perk; standing from left Doug Harrett, Chris Warneka,
John Kanzierski
, Mike Alquist, Chris Briolat (ME undergraduate
assistant), Jordan Finn, Trevor May, Phillip Verdusco, Aaron
, Ronnie Miller, Andriy Zazulya, and Seth Rachvite

A dozen students – all high-school juniors and seniors, attended the 2011 Summer Metal-Casting Workshop directed by Dr. Sam Ramrattan, an IME professor who has been offering the weeklong, hands-on metal-casting workshop for 11 years. Kamaleshwaran Nagarajan, MFT master’s student, and Chris Briolat, a mechanical engineering undergraduate, assisted him.

As in the past, the students spent a week participating in lectures, discussions, lab work, panels, and projects on metal casting history, methods, and trends. They also visited Eagle Alloy Pacific, a foundry in Muskegon, and enjoyed a college dormitory experience. Most agreed that the most fun was preparing sand castings into which they poured molten metal.

WMU administrators provided information about WMU programs and requirements. A panel of those who work or worked in the metal-casting industry shared their experiences and answered questions about their careers.

This year’s class came to WMU from Bronson, East Jordan, Hamtramck, Homer, Mesick, Portage, and Saginaw and from Cleveland and Defiance, Ohio. The students were selected on the basis of aptitude and sponsored by various chapters of the American Foundry Society and the North American Die Casting Association.

There was no cost to the students, who stayed in WMU dorms and enjoyed campus life. More information about future summer metal-casting workshops is available at sam.ramrattan@wmich.edu