X-TECH brings students and community to learn about STEM fields

Blake Benore, left, and Ronan LaRoy, center, speak with Joyce Lien, a representative from Wayne State University. Benore and LaRoy are seniors at Ida High School and are interested in pursuing welding careers.

MCCC hosted its annual X-TECH Career Exploration open house in the CTC Building Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Over 100 high school students, college students and community members came to X-TECH to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.

“It’s been pretty good,” said Bonnie Masserant, an employee from DTE. “There’s been a steady flow of students.”

The event also allowed people to watch demonstrations by professors and participate in hands-on displays.

One of the displays was a FANUC industrial robot arm that could be controlled to put a sucker through a hole in the display case.

Parmeshwar Coomar, dean of the Applied Science and Engineering Technology Division, said X-Tech is an event the college has hosted for over 15 years.

Coomar said he believes the event is good for students to see work that STEM fields do and is a great opportunity for students to be educated about the programs on campus.

X-TECH had representatives from MCCC, Michigan State University, Lawrence Tech, Siena Heights University, Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University College of Engineering to talk with attendees about their programs.

“(It’s) pretty good. I’m quite impressed with the facility,” said Joyce Lien, a representative from Wayne State College of Engineering, about MCCC and X-TECH.

The event was sponsored by Roush, Baker’s Gas and Welding Supplies, DTE and Paul’s Automotive.

This year, X-TECH featured the college’s new Makerspace and was open for display to the event attendees.

“Makerspace is like an engineer’s gym,” said Maxwell Haar, a new Makerspace technician.

The Makerspace features two different types of 3D printers, hand tools to work on or repair equipment and computers to generate and design prototypes. It also includes a section that is used as a classroom.

Mike Reaume, an ASET technician and technical specialist, said the Makerspace computers use CAD programs and are good for things like graphic design.

Ronan LaRoy and his friend Blake Benore, both seniors at Ida High School, said X-TECH flyers were posted all around their school.

LaRoy and Benore said they were interested in welding and plan to study it at MCCC.

Justin Samples, also a senior at Ida High School, said a teacher mentioned the event, which prompted him to come with his father Jeff.

Samples said he is interested in pursuing mechanical engineering and wanted to see what the event offered.

But it was not just students or community members looking for their own careers.

Jenny Schyllander, a success coach from the MCCC Math Division, said she was at the event to get information for her son.

“My son is looking at transfer options,” Schyllander said. “He is interested in physics.”

Paul Bowser, a Roush representative, also attended the event.

“We support any events we can in the community,” Bowser said.

The event demonstrated the 2015 Roush Stage 3 car, a Ford Mustang modified with new suspension, exhaust and engine packages to boost vehicle performance.

“It gets aggressive and angry,” Bowser joked.

Marty Dubois, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, said the X-TECH was a good event.

“This is our open house,” Dubois said. “We’re looking for high school students looking to graduate, but we’re open to others. Our goal is to explain.”

Dubois said the state of Michigan is working to promote STEM fields and believes there are great opportunities in them.

“We push the (MCCC) students hard,” he said.

Dubois said Ford and other tier one suppliers are requesting people to fill jobs, including MCCC students.

Chris Assenmacher, a student on campus, said he wishes this type of event happened when he was younger.

“I never had this experience when I was a kid,” Assenmacher said. “They just gave us a book and that was it. If I had an event like this, I would have gotten in product and process technology years ago.”