Cooper Standard is a leading global supplier of systems and components for the automotive industry. They will be visiting Hillside and Meads Mill Middle Schools once a month to offer a select group of students a two hour long workshop during school called Inspirations.
"Inspirations is a set of lessons, currently we have six that teach in a very fun hands-on way engineering concepts to kids. We’ve designed them to be really relevant to 8th grade audience, so the math is there but it’s not overwhelming. The real point of it is to have fun, learn about STEM and do an activity focused on teamwork" explained Thomas Lincoln, Kepner Tregoe Six Sigma Black Belt Facilitator at Cooper Standard.
The first project was to build a space tower out of little connector sets. The groups were given fake money to buy their supplies and learned the importance of being specific when ordering supplies.
"I was really excited to be able to participate in something like this because I have never done anything along the lines of something as cool as this and I was just overjoyed when I heard I got, I would get the opportunity to spend a few hours a month with people in my same situation with my same STEM interests," said Madeline, 8th grader at Hillside Middle School.
Hillside Middle School Principal Bill Jones said, "I think it’s important to build those community partnerships so that kids realize that school is not just a place for students and teachers. We’re blessed to have this facility in a central location. I think it’s important that a school serves as a community resource and a community hub. If we can bring in practicing professionals and adults, students kind of start to blur that line a little bit between school and life and this isn’t some separate thing that doesn’t pertain to what everybody else is doing out there."
"I feel really honored because I’ve always liked design and solving problems like this and having practical uses for the things I’ve learned is really fun to me and really improves what I’m going to do and career options I would do in the future," explained Wyatt, 8th grader at Hillside Middle School.
Lincoln said, "My main goal is that kids discover that STEM careers can be a lot of fun and really rewarding to go into because frankly we need more engineers in our industry and other industries need more kids with technical backgrounds with real interest in it. It’s extremely valuable and I have personally found that a STEM career is also interesting and very rewarding, especially when you find a company that really has a focus on community outreach which you can find."
A group of middle schoolers will be getting a tour of Cooper Standard on November 11th.