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NextFlex News – October 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

One of the best parts of my job is when I get the opportunity to meet with young minds and show them how much manufacturing means to me. Because of the pandemic, we have unfortunately not been able to welcome students into our headquarters for the last few years, but this year we were able to resume our tradition of in-person Manufacturing Days.

On Friday, October 7, we were visited by two engineering classes from Independence High School in San Jose who were eager to learn about flexible and additively manufactured electronics. They were even able to speak with our engineers about education pathways that lead to challenging careers in manufacturing.

The students toured the Technology Hub and were able to get hands-on at the demonstrator tables where they were challenged to think about new applications for flexible devices. During a panel discussion with the NextFlex engineers, students were encouraged to engage with what they like – to try coding with open-source DIY kits or to join a club where they can meet like-minded students who can be a good source of ideas and support. It’s the trying and course-correcting that will ultimately lead them to what challenges and interests them in a future career.

At the end of the visit, I had the distinct pleasure of sharing my story with the students and telling them that their journey is just about to begin. I let them know that they shouldn’t worry too much about making perfect choices about their future. Because no one knows what the future might hold, the best thing students can do to prepare is to be open to new possibilities and to try the things that interest them.

The students asked me questions such as, “How do you begin a startup?” and “Should I pursue a degree in Applied Physics?” Their curiosity and openness to feedback was, as always, inspiring. One of the students even reached out to us after the event for a functional mechanical sample to use in their future projects. I truly hope that we will see more of these young manufacturers in the future.


Malcolm J. Thompson, Ph.D.
Executive Director