Enriching the region by teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum to young students is Fox Valley Technical College’s Fab Lab, a project that builds neurological bridges within students’ minds, as well as financial connections in Northeast Wisconsin’s business network.
The Fab Lab works with school districts, homeschool programs and at-risk programs, giving those students hands-on, STEM-related projects, says Steven Gallagher, manager of the FVTC Fab Lab.
“We serve over 1,400 students a year- educating and exciting them about manufacturing and other potential career pathways open to them,” Gallagher says.
The Fab Lab, in recent cooperation with Guitar Center in Appleton and Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Manufacturing Alliance, crafted a custom-built, cheese-shaped guitar for Sargento Foods Inc., a local and leading producer of all foods cheese and advocate of STEM courses.
“This initiative is a tremendous opportunity for area companies to gain awareness among
youth and build on the importance of a STEM education,” says Gallagher. “Ten learners can be sponsored by the purchase
of a single sponsored guitar. Sargento Cheese was the first company to sponsor a guitar.”
Sargento was presented with the cheese guitar in May in the Fab Lab and plans on showcasing it at the company’s Plymouth headquarters. The company will donate funds to the Lab in order to increase awareness and interest for the Lab’s manufacturing projects and overall goal of molding bright futures for both the students it educates and for Northeast Wisconsin manufacturers and businesses.
“The gift received from Sargento Cheese is going to allow us to graduate and
impact ten additional students- allowing them to go through the program gain a better understanding of manufacturing and STEM all the while building their own custom designed solid body electric guitar” says Gallagher.
The Lab’s guitar building class is just one of the STEM classes that Fox Valley Tech offers. This pilot project with Sargento will likely serve as the first of many local STEM partnerships.