CJ STEMM Campers, Companies Collaborate

A group of Miami Valley junior high students put STEMM education to good use, applying the steps of the engineering design process as part of a CJ summer camp service project with a little inspiration from Bastech, Inc., one of Dayton’s leaders in 3D printing technology.

On Tuesday, June 25, the additive manufacturing company headquartered on North Dixie Drive hosted a field trip for CJ STEMM Gateway Academy summer campers. Students handled a variety of 3D printed products, including a toy car designed by a camper using the school's computer-aided design (CAD) software, then toured showrooms and labs before leaving the facility with a 3D printed keepsake to take home.

“This will be a unique career exploration opportunity for these young campers who may not be familiar with the concept of 3D printing,” said owner Ben Staub, who established Bastech in Vandalia more than 20 years ago. He is a 1984 graduate of Chaminade Julienne and an alumnus of the University of Dayton.

“At Bastech, we hope to not only inspire children and young adults to take an interest in the STEM college and career paths that are abundantly available in our city and our state, but we also want to demonstrate how principles of technology and engineering can be used responsibly to better serve our world," Staub said. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is highly regarded in sectors of today’s growing STEM economy for its cost-cutting, waste-reducing capabilities.

"3D printing seems to have everyone’s interest right now and these young people are the ones that will integrate it into our everyday lifestyles in the not-too-distant future. We’re excited to have this opportunity and give them first-hand experiences that will help create exciting career paths for them.”

The technology, which has been around since the mid-1980's, is being touted as one of the most promising developments for the future of the automotive and aerospace industries in the United States. Many of the industry’s major undertakings are happening in and around our own city and state.

Earlier this year the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) secured a $575,000 contract to work with a Lorain County company after it was awarded $1 million by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), located in Youngstown. And on June 20 the Dayton Daily News reported, in a story about Bastech's growth, that "the total additive manufacturing market is expected to reach $3.5 billion" in the year 2017, when the newest class of incoming freshmen graduate.

“After students return to camp, hopefully inspired by their field trip to Bastech, Inc., they will spend part of each of the final three days manufacturing similar toy cars by hand from wood, which will in turn be donated,” said Meg Draeger, camp director and CJ STEMM coordinator.

Known as Toys for God’s Kids, the school-wide service initiative began one year ago at CJ under the direction of the Colorado-based national non-profit organization of the same name. According to Draeger, this STEM-focused ministry project provides a context for educating students about the work of industrial, manufacturing and quality engineers.

“The mission of Toys for God’s Kids is to build and provide handcrafted wooden toy cars to less fortunate children in all corners of the world,” Draeger said. She was awarded a $500 Innovative Teaching / STEM Grant by the Miami Valley branch of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Catholic Schools Office last September in order to help get the project up and running at CJ.

“Our service project will come full circle this month when a group of current CJ students distribute some of their own handmade wooden toy cars to impoverished children during the school’s annual summer mission trip to Punta Gorda, Belize.”

For more information about the CJ STEMM Gateway Academy, or the Toys for God’s Kids service project, please contact Meg Draeger at (937) 461-3740 x487 or mdraeger@cjeagles.org.