I received an email a few weeks ago from a Grade 10 high school student in Chatham named Kristen who is interested in a career in robotics. She wanted some help locating a robotics company who could offer her a job-shadow day so that she could confirm her career choice.
I get some pretty interesting requests come across my desk, but this one was special since not too many young girls go on to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—the so-called STEM fields—or the skilled trades let alone robotics. This was new territory.
I immediately contacted Shelly Fellows who is the Vice-President of a successful robotics company called Radix Inc. for some help in identifying robotics companies in Chatham.
Shelly put me in touch with Jeanine Lassaline-Berglund who is the Senior Project Lead at the Interactive Manufacturing Innovation Networks (iMiN) who used her contacts to find a custom automation shop in Dresden called MPT Inc. (http://www.mptinc.com/) whose President—Mike Pearson—jumped on the chance to bring a bright young student into his factory and introduce her to the world of robotics.
One day in May, Kristen got a chance to spend some time at MPT Inc. Here is what she had to say about her experience in a follow up email to the President:
Hello Mr. Pearson!
I would like to thank you for allowing me to spend the day at your business. I learned a lot and now feel more confident that this (robotics) is my career choice. Your staff was very helpful and courteous. I really enjoyed the tour and seeing the robots working.
Thank you again for having me, Kristen.
When the WEtech team asked me to write a short blog this month, I was coincidentally discussing how change happens in a community with a friend who made the case that meaningful change is seismic.
Perhaps, but sometimes the best change is the least spectacular. It’s one person opening the door to a world of possibilities for another.
In this case, it was a the Vice President of a robotics company, a Senior Project Lead for manufacturing and innovation network, and the President of an automation company working together to open the door to the world of robotics for a young girl from Chatham named Kristen.
Written by: Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk is the Director of Robotics and Youth Programs at WEtech Alliance.