DMC recently partnered with After School Matters to host a group of future engineers at our Chicago office. After School Matters is a non-profit organization whose mission is, “to provide Chicago public high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond.” The group of students who visited our office was particularly interested in robotics so we were eager to show them around.
We won the group of about twenty students over with some sweets on our roof top deck and then gave them a tour of the office. They got really excited about DMC's lab space and our 3D printer that’s currently printing parts for our new 3D printer. We also showed them our ball on plate demo, our ping pong demo, and our Kinect demo and talked about different real world applications for each. We spoke with them about college life and showed them our College Commons collaboration room which has a pennant from the college of every employee.
Ryan Taylor of DMC helped to organize the event: "Math- and science-based careers are obviously really important in this age, but they’ve always had a bit of a marketing problem." He added, "It’s always great to see young people interested in those fields, and I’m personally thrilled to help shatter the negative pocket protector-related stereotypes surrounding engineering and other STEM careers. Hopefully their tour through DMC serves as inspiration and proof that becoming a technologist isn’t a ticket to a bleak cubicle and an unbalanced social life!”
The students picked Ryan’s brain about how he knew that he wanted to go into engineering and discussed some of their business ideas with him. Ryan shared some words of wisdom about how learning takes time and the importance of balancing work and play. They were surprised that there was a dog running around DMC's office and that no one was wearing a tie! It’s not difficult to encourage teenagers to pursue their interests when you work in a place full of very interesting people.
“At the end of the day, the most important message I want to give to the After School Matters program is that becoming an engineer or scientist is not necessarily the ‘end game’ of learning science/math/technology," Taylor said. "Instead, being knowledgeable in those fields gives you the tools to create and the language to share your creations, whether that means becoming a musician, entrepreneur, engineer, or an accountant.”