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06/03/08 Lincoln High School CAD/CAM pilot class engages students in technology

06/03/08 Lincoln High School CAD/CAM pilot class engages students in technology

Sierra College CACT supports iDesign to promote science, technology, engineering and math

ROCKLIN –The pilot class of Lincoln High School’s new iDesign program (www.LHSiDesign.com) will wrap up this week. By all accounts, the new Computer Aided Design/Computer Aid Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) program is a success and is ready to be offered as an elective class next fall.

Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) (www.sierracollegetraining.com ), a Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division program, partnered with Lincoln High School to establish a computer and manufacturing lab. In this applied academics class, students develop designs using CAD software and then produce projects using standard industry tools including manual mills and automated Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) milling machines. Students learn critical thinking and problem solving by working on creative projects such as engraved name plates, jewelry, candle sticks and auto parts.

Graduating senior, Joel McReynolds (age 17), enjoyed being a part of the pilot class that will shape the future program. “What we know now, compared to the beginning of the semester, has changed massively,” said McReynolds. “What used to take over an hour to program in Mastercam, now takes just two clicks.” McReynolds will study Electrical Engineering at Seattle Pacific University and anticipates a career making robots.

Sophomore Paige Fulmer (age 15) was drawn to the class because her father instilled in her a love of motorcycle riding and encouraged her to take an automotive class. When the iDesign pilot was offered, she was excited about the possibility of designing and producing custom motorcycle rims for her mother.

Junior Danny Vineyard (age 16) liked learning to use the software in the pilot class and looks forward to being in the iDesign program during his senior year. “Each new project had challenges that we had to overcome,” said Vineyard. “We all became more proficient as the students worked with Mr. Seacrist to figure out all the new equipment together.”

Student Jon Barragan found employment with Harris & Bruno International (www.harris-bruno.com ) in Roseville, according to CEO Nick Bruno who also serves on Sierra College’s advisory committee for the program. “Harris & Bruno is committed to attracting young people to technical careers,” said Bruno. “Offering internships to students like Jon is a very practical way to introduce them to the field. Jon is eager to work and learn from the bottom up.”  Barragan, a self proclaimed “gear head” said that he originally became interested in machining as a way to make custom auto parts. “I am so excited to be working at Harris & Bruno using the skills I learned in iDesign,” said Barragan.

According to instructor Scott Seacrist, he developed the iDesign curriculum in direct response to input from industry and education representatives. “In this hands-on class, students see how academics relate to real world career skills,” said Seacrist. “Students learn the value of knowing skills such as calculating angles, organizing a logical sequence of code, writing clear directions for others to follow and knowing the science of the composition of materials they are cutting.”

Girls make up half of the pilot class according to Seacrist. “There are many excellent highly paid technical career opportunities for young women,” said Seacrist. “One goal of this class is to give girls an opportunity through hands-on projects to experience the joy of imagining something, creating a design and then making it. Today’s manufacturing jobs appeal to young people because the pay scale is excellent, environments are clean, automated equipment is used for lifting, work is interesting and diverse, and schedules can be conducive to balancing family and work.”

Seacrist just launched a blog, www.LHSiDesign.com\blog, which describes the evolution of the pilot program. “During the summer, I’ll write about my experiences working in externships for local manufacturers,” said Seacrist. “In the future, the blog will be a way to showcase student projects, and freely share and receive tips and tricks with others in the field.”

Lincoln students who take the iDesign courses may go on to Sierra College’s Mechatronics, Engineering and Engineering Support Technology programs. The practical experience gained from actually using tools to make a physical product from a 3D computer design, is an excellent foundation for those considering education and careers in architecture, product design, automated manufacturing, engineering and other technical fields. Students may also be candidates for employer apprenticeship programs in CNC machining.

Roseville-based PASCO (Pasco.com) recently donated a hand operated vertical mill to the Lincoln iDesign program according to Jay Bietz, PASCO’s IT and Facilities Manager. “PASCO is very supportive of furthering science and technical education in our communities,” said Bietz. “This mill was used in the R&D lab for pre-design work.  We are delighted that the tool can be put to good use. Once the students get the feel of using the manually operated mill, the CNC programming will make a lot more sense.”

A Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division program, the CACT’s mission is to support companies with employee training, technology deployment and industry development. Since 1997, the Sierra College CACT has supported manufacturers and technology companies in Northern California from Sacramento to the Oregon border. For more information, go to www.sierracollegetraining.com or call 916-660-7801
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