Students visit area businesses

JOHNSTOWN — Students at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Pathways in Technology Early College in the high school have been making the rounds to local businesses and agencies to speak with them about a planned makerspace at the Jansen Avenue location.

On Thursday, four students from PTECH presented their ideas before the Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees for a space that will allow students and the public to use to make their ideas a reality.

According to HFM, as part of their Principles of Business class, sophomores researched equipment and drew up plans for the prototyping lab. After presenting their concepts to each other, the ideas were narrowed to a final plan to be considered by Hamilton Fulton Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School administration, which has set aside funding for the space in its 2017-18 budget.

The students, Julia Preston, Samantha Reese, Abby Preston and Nick Brasmeister, all in 10th grade, spoke to the board about the planned maker space and its potential applications.

The idea behind the project is a give back to entrepreneurs in the area, along with giving students a place to learn.

A number of different types of equipment is being considered including 3D printers, soldering machines, craft supplies and computer programs.

Makerspaces are community centers that combine manufacturing equipment, community and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that would not otherwise be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone.

The idea would also allow business partners such as NBT Bank, St. Mary’s Healthcare and Beech-nut to use the systems to teach students how to use the equipment.

According to HFM, renovations of classroom space at Jansen Avenue School are slated to begin in July.

Abby Preston said the lab is a place where anyone can design what’s in their head into a prototype.

“It’s a place where they can come in and design their own prototypes for a project at school,” Brasmeister said. “You can utilize this space to its full potential.”

Principals of Business teacher Michael LaMastra said this project was done mostly in his class, however it did cover three topics of the principals of business: finance, managing technology and communication skils.

PTECH Principal Mike Dadaris said the presentation was not a pitch, but instead extending a hand to invited students, employees and FM partners to use the lab.

“The only catch is, if you come, we hope that you will work with one of our students on one of their prototypes or projects,” Dardaris said.

Students said they interviewed Dadaris as a part of their project. One of the questions they asked him was how the prototype lab would benefit PTECH.

PTECH’ students said their principal told them he believed a prototyping lab would be great for business partners to come in and see what students are creating. The school wants to have their students have an idea and not only think what could be, but to manifest their ideas in a physical form.

FMCC President Dustin Swanger said if the maker space contains items that the college doesn’t have that students could use, he would consider having college students use the makerspace.

Swanger and the FM Board also praised the students for their presentation skills, which they said was well beyond what many adults could do.

Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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