Re: Students Awed by Technology & Career Opportunities

From: Glenn Whiteside (
Date: Thu Sep 12 2002 - 05:17:51 EEST

Everybody made good points, especially in these tougher economic times.
We live in much different times and a lot of students
today don't seem to have the motivation or willingness to learn new things,
especially if it takes them away from their favorite TV program.

I guess I always think about the motivated students but sadly today this is
just not the case for the majority. From what I see at the university it is
mostly the foreign
students who are winning the awards and pushing hard to learn new things.
We need to recapture this spirit again somehow by demonstrating how cool it
is to
design and make things - not just to be a consumer. If we don't do it other
are more than willing to step into this void and we'll be importing
everything, even knowledge.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Terry T. Wohlers" <>
To: <>; "RP-ML" <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 6:10 PM
Subject: Re: Students Awed by Technology & Career Opportunities

Ed and everyone else,

I also understand why they don't do it. Isn't interesting how we easily
find reasons not to do something when it's challenging or difficult? We
tend to latch on to excuses (many are valid) to support our backing away
from the problem. If we continue to back away from this one, I'm afraid our
U.S. manufacturing base will continue to shrink. Of course, the problem is
much deeper and wider than what's being discussed here.

It's my hope that the organizers of design and manufacturing exhibitions,
and especially the exhibitors themselves, begin to welcome junior high,
high school, and college students. I'm not suggesting that shows are opened
up entirely to students. I could envision knowledgeable volunteers leading
student groups through the exhibition during slow periods. Often, the first
and last days of shows are slow. Another option would be to have special
hours, perhaps late in the day, when students can tour the show floor on
their own.

Thanks to those of you who sent e-mail messages to me privately. In the
future, I encourage you to post them to the list so that everyone can
benefit from them. Several of you had excellent thoughts and ideas. I
applaud those of you who are sharing your time and resources with schools,
inviting them to visit your facility, organizing projects and educational
activities, and so on. We can only hope that these acts of kindness are

One last thought: While working at Colorado State University (1981-1986), I
learned to NOT be bashful. I urge instructors, research personnel, lab
managers, and others at educational institutions of all levels to make
contact with local design and manufacturing companies. I'm sure many of
them would be glad to cooperate in some way, but you may need to take the
first step.


Terry Wohlers
Wohlers Associates, Inc.
OakRidge Business Park
1511 River Oak Drive
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
Fax 970-225-2027

Message text written by
>In a message dated 02-09-10 11:50:14 EDT, writes:

<< Why don't more design and
 manufacturing shows and exhibitions put out the welcome mat for students?
 understand clearly that in the short term, they are not the buyers, but in
 a short few years, they ARE the buyers. A 14-year old in 1990 is now a
 26-year old working for an organization that might be considering your
 products and services.

Hi Terry:

They don't do it because of the very reasons that were given by Mr.
Chancellor: It's serious, frustratingly expensive, business and we gotta
a return.

But they should - they should even allow high school groups in; maybe even
junior high school, too. Industry should also foster more facility tours
students and the public in general, as others have pointed out.

If we don't do this, we'll lose a simple way to inspire young people to
pursue technical professions and we'll limit public understanding of the
of technology and manufacturing. Net result: fewer engineers and scientist

and public policies that are inimical to our interests. And even worse yet,

the loss of youthful imagination applied to our technical problems and

Most shows have an association with, or are run by a professional trade
group. These people should be able to find a way to get the kids in
being intrusive and without wasting exhibitor resources.

If they don't do it, they're shirking a responsibility they have to

Ed Grenda
Castle Island Co. (email)

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