Note: This is a copy of a press release issued by Sandia National Laboratories on September 9, 2013.

September 9, 2013

LIVERMORE, Calif.— In an effort to arm high school students with the skills they will need to compete for and land important high-tech jobs – especially those in the shifting manufacturing field –Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore piloted its first-ever Design-to-Manufacturing Academy (DMA) event recently.

The event consisted of three half-days and involved several members of Sandia’s technical staff and 15 high school students from Livermore, Dublin and Oakland.

At the first-ever Design to Manufacturing Academy, Sandian Bryant Morgan helps high school students (left to right) Michael Harris, Zoie MacDougall and Gabe Valenton design a part on the computer. In the three-day academy, area high school students explored career opportunities in manufacturing.
(Photo by Dino Vournas)

“We wanted to introduce these students to career opportunities they might not have been aware of before,” said Stephanie Beasly, community relations officer at Sandia/California. “Engineering is a vast technical discipline with various levels and career paths. Whether kids decide on trade school, an apprenticeship, a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or a Ph.D., there are good jobs to be found in engineering and manufacturing, and we tried with this pilot academy to show them these possibilities.”

At the DMA academy, students learned, through step-by-step modules, what it takes to manufacture a small part for a robot. Using computer tools and software, participants began with the design and modeling phase, followed by a finite element analysis to determine the strength of the part they would be creating.

“The students’ own interests and imagination should always serve as the guiding force behind their personal educational and vocation choices,” said Ed Woodworth, an instructor with the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program at Livermore High School. “The value in this Academy is that the students clearly saw and understood the broad range of possible careers that will blossom if they remain devoted to continuing their education.”

Students watched as a preliminary prototype of the part was printed on a 3-D printer. They then visited Sandia’s machine shop where the part was cut out of metal and inspected for quality. Finally, students tested the durability of the product with a tension test to failure. By the end of the academy, students participated in a complete design-to-manufacture process, resulting in a pair of wheels for a mobot (mobile robot).

“If just one of these students had an epiphany, an ‘A-ha!’ moment that leads them to pursue manufacturing or engineering as a potential career path, then our event was a success,” said Larry Carrillo, engineering services manager at Sandia/California and the originator of the event.

Beasly said the DMA academy directly ties in well with Sandia/California’s broader community outreach focus.

“Education is one of our main outreach areas, and we want to continue to build upon the great success of our Family Science Night initiative,” she said. Sandia aims to have a specific impact on STEM disciplines, and programs like Family Science Night and the Design to Manufacturing Academy can help inspire local high school students to pursue those fields, Beasly said.

According to a special report issued recently by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA), the Information, Communications and Technology, Energy and Biomedical Advanced Manufacturing subsectors are all highly concentrated in the East Bay, with Biomedical expected to grow 1.3 percent annually over the next five years.

The recent DMA activity represented the latest way in which the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC) enables Sandia to engage with educational partners on collaborative projects and curricula.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia media relations contact: Mike Janes, [email protected], (925) 294-2447