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STEM Students Experience World of Electronics at the San Diego Convention Center

San Diego high school STEM students traded their backpacks for badges to explore the world of electronics at the San Diego Convention Center.

The IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries debuted a new STEM student outreach program during its annual IPC APEX EXPO meeting and trade show on Thursday, March 1, 2018. A total of 60 students from Canyon Crest Academy and The Preuss School took a field trip for the day to the San Diego Convention Center to learn about career opportunities in electronics, engineering and understand the use of electronics manufacturing in daily life.

"We’re trying to find the next generation of engineers," said IPC Senior Director of Trade Shows and Events and STEM Outreach Program Co-Manager Alicia Balonek. "I believe this program will benefit the electronics industry by encouraging these students to consider electronics manufacturing as a career choice before they enter college.  It will also benefit the students by showing them the variety of career paths and the many opportunities that are available to them through STEM."

IPC’s Vice President of International Relations David Bergman kicked off  program  by giving the students a "real-world" explanation of how to design, fabricate and assemble a circuit board using household items such as bread, peanut butter and aluminum foil to demonstrate how to design, fabricate and assemble a circuit board. Students then toured the exhibition floor - just like the actual attendees - to see the capability of pick and place machines, stencil printers and other technologies, bringing a real-life shop floor to life on the show floor.

"It's cool to see all this technology, " Preuss School sophomore Kevin Nguyen said. "I don't get to see this kind of equipment on a daily basis, yet it's used to make something I use every day—my phone. It's interesting to see it all come to life."

Ivy Li, 17, checks out circuitry with friends on IPC's show floor.

"I'm interested in entering the electrical engineering and computer science field, so I was excited to see front-line developments, learn how skills in the classroom transition to industry and how to apply the knowledge in my future," Canyon Crest Academy senior Ivy Li said.

As an added support to local STEM programs, teachers from Canyon Crest Academy and The Preuss School each accepted a $1,000 donation from the outreach program’s four generous sponsors:  ASM Assembly Systems, Panasonic, Mycronic and Nordson.

"We're going to apply the donation where it came from," Preuss School science teacher Dan Rupert said. "It'll be used to buy circuit boards and components for engineering classes that will be beneficial for years to come."

Students concluded their day with a panel discussion featuring top executives from the outreach program's sponsors. The students were given expert advice on how to succeed in the electronics industry, as well as day-to-day experiences and employment opportunities within their companies.

"Our mission is to encourage STEM projects, and young people are STEM's future," Mycronic regional sales manager Liz Morrill said. "We want to show them what they're capable of and hope in 10 years, they'll be creating, designing and advancing this technology."

Through this opportunity, students were able to join over 9,000 attendees and tour the sold-out exhibit floor for a sneak peek into a potential career path. At the end of the day, they rode the escalators to the exits and left with a new outlook on STEM.

"I want the kids to leave knowing electronics is not just 'one thing'," Nancy Jaster, IPC manager of design process and STEM outreach program co-manager said. "There are so many areas they can expand to, and I want them to understand there is so much they can do with an engineering degree. It’s incredible that what we do changes the world."

"We are proud to be a place where meeting planners launch innovative programs," said San Diego Convention Center Corporation President and CEO Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe, CVE. "Opportunities like this further solidifies the Convention Center's commitment to the community and allows us to open our doors to members of the public – in this case – high school students, for a life-changing experience."

IPC APEX EXPO is contracted with the San Diego Convention Center through 2023. IPC is looking forward to coming back next year and expanding the STEM outreach program to even more schools in San Diego.

Posted by Jessica Tran, on March 6, 2018
Meeting Planners

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