Last week we attended the High Tech Night at MCC. This Annual event is a great opportunity for students interested in Engineering and other high-tech fields to take a look at some local companies and see what they have to offer. I attended with my high school freshman, who is a current participant in our high school’s Project Lead the Way program. He was surprised at the many different ways companies used Engineers, and how different the jobs looked depending on what the company’s focus was. It was eye opening to see the many opportunities there are in the Engineering and Technical fields.
Our region has many high-tech companies, and many of them were on-site to showcase who they are and what they do. There were several booths that had video presentations, they all had staff willing to answer questions, and many of them had a hands-on component. The hands-on displays were a huge hit, as evidenced by the crowds at these stations as teens lined up to participate. We were able to see how contact lenses are made and the various stages they go through before being delivered to the consumer, how a 3-D printer works, and even learned how to operate a plastic injection mold to make a small screwdriver.
In addition to the company displays, there were several colleges represented that had information on their Technology and Engineering programs. MCC had multiple tables showcasing the many different options they currently offer, and there were also tables from Syracuse University and Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT brought their student-made race car from their racing team, and that was a huge draw as well.
Group tours of MCC’s labs and buildings were also offered for anyone that wanted a close-up look at the facilities being used in their programs. Between the tours and the displays, there were many ways to explore the field in an engaging manner, and my high-schooler left with a better grasp of what career paths could be in his future if he wanted to continue along the engineering path.
My son’s favorite display was from a local company called SkyOp. They build unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are basically a remote-controlled mini helicopter, that carries a video camera. The staff were very engaging and were great at answering all the questions my son had about how long the battery life is (about 20 minutes), how much they cost (depends on size) and how durable they are (quite, and we got several stories of accidental landings and how well they fared).
The presenters were all very engaging and asked the students about themselves, what they wanted to study, and offered tips on course selection (take math and science, and lots of it!) as well as offering some information on internships and entry-level job opportunities.
If you have a student interested in the high tech fields, this is a great opportunity to learn more about what is available locally and to see recent developments in the field. I would highly recommend going. This event is run annually at MCC in the early Spring.