Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kids learn about 3D printing, engineering, teamwork thanks to GCCEF

A group of middle school-aged Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia members learned a little bit about engineering and a lot about the importance of teamwork this week at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper.

Funding by the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation allowed 20 Boys & Girls Club members from Orange and Madison counties to spend their spring break designing, building and racing electric toy cars using parts created on the spot with a 3D printer.

Girl power: The winning engineering team of Brittany
Beaudet, Hannah Smith, Sara Sabine and Jerica Cropp.
At a time when a national effort is underway to interest girls in STEM (science, technology,engineering and math) careers, the winning team was all female. In a display of STEM girl power, it consisted of Brittany Beaudet and Hannah Smith of Orange and Sara Sabine and Jerica Cropp of Madison County.

Ben Sherman, a Daniel Center-based Business and Career Coordinator for Germanna’s Center for Workforce and Community Education, asked the Boys & Girls Club members what they learned.

“Make it better than the first time,” one volunteered.

“That’s the engineer’s point of view,” Sherman responded.

“Teamwork pays off,” a second chimed in.

“That’s the key,” Sherman shot back. “Bill Gates from Microsoft didn’t do it all by himself. He had teams that worked together.

“Apple,” he said. “The iPhone wasn’t created by one person. They had a team.”

“When you get back home you can brag to your friends, ‘I spent my spring break at college,’ ” Liaison to the President of Germanna Bruce L. Davis told the group before handing out workforce training certificates. “Hopefully, you’ll come back. Germanna is a great place to learn. And as you get older and start to think about a career, we can help you.”

Francis Delaney of Somerset and Gail Marshall of Rapidan contributed to a GCCEF fund that paid for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia’s week of training.

The Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia covers Greene, Madison, Orange and Albemarle counties.

After the ceremony, Davis said the GCCEF wants to continue to offer similar programs for kids with the primary goal to “start planting the idea of college in kids’ minds beginning at around eighth grade.”

“We’re trying to prepare them not just for college but to have life skills --and have fun doing it,” Sherman said. “It’s important to make it fun.”

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