During the spring semester of 2021, Govind Srimathveeravalli, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and an adjunct professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department, and his first-year doctoral student Mary Sheehan organized, designed, and delivered a short course to expose students of the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The conservatory is a specialized magnet school that focuses on art, music, and other fine arts.
The classes were conducted online, starting at the end of February, and ended in early April. Approximately 10 students participated in the course.
According to Srimathveeravalli, “Through this course, we provided an introduction to elementary computer-aided design (CAD) modeling, creating simple everyday objects and then fabricating them using additive manufacturing techniques.”
Srimathveeravalli adds that “The goal of our course was to expose students in art programs to STEM. We chose to use CAD modeling and rapid prototyping as easily understood entry points for providing these students with an exposure to design and manufacturing.”
This activity was coordinated by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Engineering, in collaboration with Dr. Melishia Santiago, a teacher at the conservatory. Paula Rees, the assistant dean for diversity, and Stephen Fernandez, engineer engagement specialist, were also involved in the coordination.
The course started with an introduction by Srimathveeravalli, a discussion on topics that the students would like to explore through design and prototyping. Following this, the students were introduced to the concept of objects being represented in three dimensions, projections for deriving views, and the basics of sketching design ideas by Sheehan.
The main part of the course was an introduction to CAD software. As Srimathveeravalli explains, “Mary and I used OnShape software as a simple and accessible platform for teaching the students the fundamentals of CAD. It was easily available online and operated through a browser without requiring additional installations. The students were oriented for using the software to make some basic 3D objects, followed by a lesson on how to make a phone case.”
The final class was an online tour of the AddFab core facility in UMass, facilitated by Sheehan and the director of the facility, Dr. David Follette. The class received a live demonstration of the 3D printing process for the phone case designed earlier in the course.
“The model created during the course was 3D printed and colored during this session,” says Srimathveeravalli, “and the students got to view the end outcome of a design and manufacturing of an Iphone case.” (October 2021)