WMU News

Future product developers learn tricks of the trade

July 6, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- A simulated engineering design environment will take form at Western Michigan University when 25 high school students participate in the Michigan Summer Institute for Technological Sciences July 9 to 15.

The institute is sponsored by a grant from the Michigan State Board of Education and WMU and is designed to provide high school juniors and sophomores with a working knowledge of the interdisciplinary nature of a typical product development problem. The theme for the seven-day institute is "Design, Technology and Human Factors in Concurrent Engineering."

"Our goal is to provide exposure to various facets of engineering as a whole," says Dr. Robert J. Leneway, institute director and principal research associate in the College of Education's Education Technology Initiative. "The students will have the opportunity to experience a team building environment and engage in creative problem solving while applying engineering and business processes."

The institute will include two technical sessions each day, a career night and study tours of several Southwest Michigan-based companies, including Weber Specialties, IDO of Grand Rapids and Ronningen Research and Development Co. Technical sessions will cover such topics as ergonomics, biomechanical modeling, computer-assisted design and alternative recommendations.

Leneway said the students, who were selected based on their interest in the fields of engineering, technology and business, will be responsible for developing plans for a product, building a prototype and presenting it at a peer model review session on the final day of the institute. He said the students would accomplish this by working in "design firm" teams that will have departments focused on engineering design, manufacturing and business management.

The Summer Institute for Technology at WMU is a collaborative problem-based learning experience jointly conducted by WMU's College of Education and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Corporate sponsors include IDO, Weber Specialties, FEMA, Milling and Associates, and Ronningen Research and Development Co..

For more information or to arrange coverage of institute's activities, contact Leneway at (616) 387-2051.

Media contact: Pauline Oo, 616 387-8400, pauline.oo@wmich.edu

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