UCONN’s Joule Fellows Explore QVCC’s Manufacturing and Engineering Programs

The Joule Fellows Program at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) gives middle school, high school, and community college instructors a chance to participate in current research and develop lessons and activities to bring engineering principles into their classroom. As part of the program, Joule Fellows attend various enrichment activities around the state in interesting and relevant locations.

In early August, Joule Fellows from UCONN attended a tour of QVCC’s manufacturing and engineering programs and completed a related workshop on 3D scanning, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D printing, and Laser Cutting. They measured parts, made simple sketches on paper with relevant dimensions, then created those parts using a 3D CAD program, SolidWorks. They took a 3D-printed box, and cut and etched a matching lid from mirrored cast acrylic with their own custom text on it using our laser cutter. There was also a brief live 3D scanning demo.

Two students, Cassandra Miller from QVCC, and Amit Thakkar from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), helped Prof. Jakob Spjut run the workshop and assisted the Joule Fellows with their workshop tasks. They also shared some details of their summer project, as they worked on a NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research project to redesign the statewide Community College Quadcopter Challenge under Prof. Jakob Spjut (QVCC) and Prof. Ravindra Thamma (CCSU). As QVCC campus director for the space grant, Prof. Spjut also shared additional statewide opportunities for high school teachers to get involved with the Space Grant, which is NASA’s educational outreach arm inside of Connecticut, administered out of University of Hartford.

QVCC Collaborates with KPRD to Offer Four-Week Kids Camp

Quinebaug Valley Community College has partnered with the Killingly Parks and Recreation Department (KPRD) to offer an interactive four-week day camp for local students in grades 5-8. Every Wednesday, students visit QVCC’s Danielson campus to participate in a variety of ongoing activities, including interactive classes like Manufacturing Experience, taught by Jodi Clark, Assistant Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, and Rapid Prototyping, taught by Jakob Spjut, Professor of Engineering Science.

CT Army Veteran and QVCC Alum Charles Baird ’18 is helping Professor Spjut with his Rapid Prototyping class. Baird graduated from QVCC in 2018 with dual degrees in Engineering Science and Biomolecular Science. He is currently attending Columbia University where he is pursuing a degree in Data Science. “I come back to QVCC any chance I get to help students and participate in STEM camp. I like to teach and encourage students to have the same passion and opportunities for engineering that I had,” commented Baird. Current student Emily Rosaci is also giving back by helping with Spjut’s class. Rosaci studies Mathematics and is a member of QVCC’s Robotics Club.

In addition to the Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Experience classes, students also participate in nature walks with Mark Szantyr, Professor of Fine Arts, and arts and crafts activities like tie-dying and origami with other QVCC staff members. The camp will continue weekly until Wednesday, August 7.