After a brief signing ceremony and a handshake to seal the deal, Huntsville City Schools became the first K-12 school system to partner with Auburn University in the realm of additive manufacturing.
“It's the best thing for our students, it's the best thing for our schools as we really bring to life what they have learned in the classroom, all the years, and apply it to what's happening in the real world,” said Christy Finley, superintendent of Huntsville City Schools.
The school system started investing in additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, back in 2016 when school leaders were shaping what they wanted Jemison High School to become.
Two years later, partnering with Auburn not only gives the high school students a boost with their curriculum, but it also helps Auburn with their research programs.
“That gives exposure to our graduate students and our faculty, not only to advancing technology, but also to the next generation of students that will be utilizing that technology,” said Christopher Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn.
Students who spoke with WAAY 31 said not only do they get to work with professional engineers in learning about how the technology works, but also they are able to work with both plastic and metal printing.
“It's a great business and there's no cap on your imagination. You can make anything possible. And it's a very good career aspect,” said a senior, Tralynn Meeks.
In addition to the partnership with Auburn, Huntsville City Schools will work with some engineers at NASA. They will also maintain their ongoing relationship with AMRDEC, the largest single employer on Redstone Arsenal.
Finley said it’s a unique opportunity to have real world experiences with local engineers and glimpse possible career paths in the STEM fields.
“It's really coming full circle for our students to see that the opportunities that they have in high school can come back full circle to Huntsville, Alabama,” said Finley
“You don't have to go out to get a good, decent job. You have good, decent jobs here that's easy to find now through these programs,” said Meeks.
Finley added that all high school students can participate in the program either at the Jemison campus or the one at Grissom High School.