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NextFlex Hosts FlexFactor Students for Industry Day

by Ally Freitas, EWD Customer Success Associate

Recently, 37 students from the Metropolitan Education District (MetroED) visited NextFlex as the Industry Day component of their FlexFactor program. MetroEd prepares high school and adult students for future success in college and careers through hands-on career technical education. This particular group of students, taught by Mr. Jim Burnham, is studying mechatronics. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that combines principles of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering to design and control advanced electromechanical systems. A mechatronics class is typically a course that introduces students to the fundamentals of mechatronics, including the integration of mechanics, electronics, and software. In a mechatronics class, students will learn how to design and control intelligent systems that can sense, actuate, and interact with their environment. They will explore topics such as sensors and actuators, microcontrollers, feedback control systems, programming languages, and algorithms for decision-making.

The visit to NextFlex consisted of three rotations – a FAB tour, demonstration table, and careers panel – allowing students to see not just flexible hybrid electronic (FHE) manufacturing but also to understand the various products that result, and the careers involved., Dr. Art Wall, NextFlex’s Director of FAB Operations, let the students on the FAB tour.  Through this experience, students had the opportunity to observe the fabrication process, learn about the equipment and techniques used, and ask questions. Next, students were able to see some final products at the demonstration table. Siamak Mirnezami, Senior QA Automation Engineer, and Jose Rodriguez-Labra, Electrical Engineer, were able to inspire students by showcasing the practical applications of engineering concepts and technologies. The demonstration table included products with a range of technologies integrated like sensors, conformal electronics, and additive manufacturing. This part of the tour had students asking to stay longer as engineering concepts became more accessible and they were able to see not just the practical applications of engineering but also the creativity and innovation of the field. The last rotation was a careers panel where students were able to gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities of a career in engineering. Senior Process Engineer, Anthony Loveland, and Mechanical Engineer, Mathew Hung, graciously answered questions, shared about their own educational and career paths, and provided a glimpse into the day in the life of an engineer in advanced manufacturing. Students left the panel feeling inspired about their futures. One student shared, “Loveland’s experience opened my eyes to a future priority–to be in a place that facilitates constantly learning new things.” Another student shared, “One of the engineers who I was particularly excited about meeting was Matthew Hung because his job there was exactly what I want to do — he is a mechanical engineer in robotics and automation. I was able to ask him questions about his career field and understand more about what it would be like to work in such a career.”

The Industry Day experience is a critical and unique component of the FlexFactor program. Through the interactions with our staff and the hands-on activities, students gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving in the engineering field. NextFlex is committed to engaging and inspiring the next generation of innovators by promoting awareness and understanding of advanced manufacturing through the FlexFactor program. To learn more about FlexFactor or to open your facility to student tours, please contact