I was honored to participate in the 4th annual STEMapalooza Science Expo hosted by the Girl Scouts of the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. STEMapalooza is a great opportunity for organizations of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to come together and share everything that's "cool" about what they do.
The event was full of non-stop excitement with hundreds of Girl Scouts filling the rooms, eager to stop at every booth with hands-on activities for the girls. We were in great company too. Organizations like Morton Arboretum and the Dupage Children's Museum also were there.
Full-Disclosure: I'm not a parent, but I do remember being a kid. And, to this day, I still get a charge from learning how things work. And I got that way because of the 'grown-ups' around me encouraging me to ask questions, take things apart, and embrace my curiosity.
I'm fortunate to be in the position to pay it forward. The Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA) had a booth equipped with an assembly line of bowls full of components (produced and donated by TMA members!), some made from a 3D printer, to build their own keychain. TMA asked if I could donate two of Bi-Link's 3D printers to demonstrate the new and innovative technology. The girls took a tremendous interest, asking a ton of questions and eager to learn as much as they can.
I didn't show up alone. One of Bi-Link's interns, Zach Kowalczyk, also participated. Zach and his twin brother Matt spent last summer at Bi-Link working with our 3D printing and scanning tools.They enjoyed it so much; it eventually led them to start a 3D Printing Club at their school, Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois. Zach brought along some of their favorite 3D printed pieces they've made to share.
We take pride in not just educating operators, but training innovators. Just like we do with our interns, we want to give them all the tools and space they need to tinker with new ideas. It's just another way we bring mind to market.
At STEM, I overheard a mom say, "My daughter already knows it's cool to be smart." I just love that for so many reasons. Bi-Link takes education seriously. We believe that the young minds of today are the ones who will lead the future in manufacturing.
The event was such an eye-opener. I've never attended a STEM event before, and I won't miss another one again. Manufacturing is something that should be experienced with all of your senses. Seeing how the girls responded to the 3D printers in action with tons of questions and so much enthusiasm — it was amazing!
We had a great time attending STEMapalooza. We hope to participate in similar events in the future.
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