MCLEAN, VA — Imperial Estates Elementary School accepted a MakerGear 3D printer donated with proceeds from the Miles for Manufacturing 5K held in March during The MFG Meeting in Amelia Island, FL.

The 3D printer was presented by Greg Jones, vice president, smartforce development, The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

Located in the heart of the Space Coast, Imperial Estates Elementary School integrates STEM programs into its curriculum and after-school clubs.

“The 3D printer helps connect STEM in the classroom to the space industry,” said Imperial Estates Elementary School Principal Kathryn Lott. “Our sixth-grade students attend Space Week at the Kennedy Space Center. We regularly invite professionals from our community to talk about their work and how STEM can help students to determine ‘what problem they want to solve’ when they grow up.”

“STEM programs like the one at Imperial Estates foster skills and passion for aerospace, expose young students to careers in the space industry, and establish a firm STEM foundation in students as they advance through STEM curriculum in local middle, high and post-secondary schools,” said Bryan Kamm, founder and managing principal of Kamm Consulting Group and a member of the New Space Coast Consortium, which promotes STEM in local schools. Kamm introduced Imperial Estates Elementary School as a donor candidate for M4M.

The New Space Coast Consortium is led by local manufacturing companies, including RUAG Space USA and OneWeb Satellites, and aims to strengthen collaboration between local industry, education and government stakeholders to foster aerospace workforce skills on the Space Coast through apprenticeship programs and industry-school interactions.

“3D printing in the classroom does more than introduce computer programming skills. It teaches design, spatial awareness and the knowledge of how to make ideas come to life. Through 3D modeling and printing, students can quickly see if their coding works. They learn persistence as they have to stick with their project until it prints successfully,” Jones said.

The International Manufacturing Technology Show and GIE Media sponsor the M4M 5K, a series of races held throughout the year at manufacturing events. All runner registration fees go toward STEM education programs that prepare students for careers in manufacturing. The race at The MFG Meeting featured 76 participants.

“Along with our partner GIE Media, we are very proud to support institutions such as Imperial Estates Elementary School. It is especially rewarding to hear about how the students will use the 3D printers and see the enthusiasm of the teachers, school administrators and the community," said Peter Eelman, AMT vice president of exhibitions and business development.

“We are thrilled to not only bring together the industry, but also to be able to contribute to the programs that are the future of the manufacturing industry," says Mike DiFranco, GIE Media Group publisher.

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