Inspiring Next-Generation Engineers Through STEM


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Through the STEM Student Outreach Program, IPC invites high school students to visit IPC APEX EXPO for a day. Last year, they had about 100 participating students, and this year, it doubled. The program is designed to introduce students to our industry at a younger age.

During one event planned for them, the students had a chance to participate in a hands-on soldering track, creating wearable buttons to take home with them. Students then toured the show floor, where they rotated through various education tracks, receiving real-world technical skills training in soldering and coding, designing, and assembling PCBs. They also enjoyed a career panel during lunch and a presentation by Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. This event is organized by the IPC Education Foundation.

Participating groups this year included Mission Hills High School, Morse High School, North County Trade Tech High School, Saint Marcos High School, E3 Civic High School, Point Loma High School, Otay Ranch High School, Mount Miguel High School, Otay Ranch High School—Girls in STEM. Sponsors of this year’s event included Foxconn Interconnect Industries, Nordson, Panasonic, TTM Technologies, Weller Apex Tools, and I-Connect007.

One STEM Teacher’s Perspective

During the event, I had a chance to interview Kathy Schultz, a teacher from Point Loma High School, who accompanied her engineering students to IPC APEX EXPO as part of the STEM Student Outreach Program.

Barry Matties: Kathy, you’re here with your school. How many students do you have attending the STEM Student Outreach Program today?

Kathy Schultz: I brought about 20.

Matties: What was the inspiration to bring your students?

Schultz: Most of my students are in an engineering class at school, and one of the classes that I teach is digital electronics. Through that class, the students have been exposed to a lot of the activities that they’re going to be doing here, but I thought it would be good to get it from a professional standpoint.

Matties: It is. That’s wonderful. Tell me a little bit about the digital class you’re teaching.

Schultz: The students learn mostly about the basic concepts, such as logic and breadboards. We use a pro-gram called MultiSENSE, which is a circuit program. They can simulate their circuits before they build them. We don’t use real PCBs, but we do a little bit of soldering, so it covers the basics of electronics. 

Matties: And, of course, this is an elective pro-gram that they’re choosing to be in.

Schultz: Correct. The school has four engineering classes that they can take all four years. The digital electronics class is an hon-ors class, so it’s like taking an AP or weighted credit for it.

Matties: Nice. And when your students are in the class, what do they expect to get out of that?

Schultz: It provides a lot of general knowledge. Most of them are interested in attending college or pursuing a career in an engineering field or related STEM field.

Matties: It’s exciting to have you all here. What advice would you give to a young student who’s looking at moving into electronics?

Schultz: Be patient.

Matties: That’s good advice for life. 

To read the rest of these interviews, which appeared in Show & Tell Magazine, click here.

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