Many students that are of an underrepresented race or financial class miss opportunities to learn new topics, especially ones that are on the higher cost end, such as 3D printing or most other cutting edge sciences and technologies. Schools with limited budgets tend to cut these courses from their curriculum because they are the most expensive per student, leaving many talented students to never even discover a potential passion. Too many students with disadvantaged backgrounds have found their passions much too late in life, and have ended up being unprepared for college and even on later in life. Our goal in this project is to introduce the cutting edge 3D additive manufacturing technology to these students early on, in hopes of sparking interest and inspiring them to perhaps pursue this new path. These students might not have access to these courses at their local schools because under-funded schools tend to cut these courses from their curriculum because they are the most expensive per student, leaving many talented students to never even discover a potential passion. As a relatively new and beginner friendly technological advancement being introduced to the modern market, we think that 3D printing & designing would be the best gateway for some of these students to discover a love for the STEM fields. This would lead to them being more prepared and successful in college, ultimately leading to more representation in the fields of technology and science.
So far, we have conducted a mock class with some of our personal friends. We introduced them to the basics of 3d printing, the components and settings of 3d printing, and a brief introduction to CAD and the Slicing software. We then printed a quick model as a demonstration, gave the students a 3d printed model as a souvenir and finally allowed the students to search for a model to import into a slicing software, where we taught them to customize the models.
Overall, the mock class was a great success, the students seemed interested and engaged, and we were able to identify further improvements on our class format for the future. We are very excited to continue with this project and we will be having our actual program at the start of August when we will be teaching our class at Union College in collaboration with the STEP program.
-Max Wang ‘25, Austin Zhang ‘25