TE Connectivity, Lehigh University and Broughal Middle School team up for annual thrill ride in STEM education
May 4, 2018
Bethlehem, PA—On Friday, May 4, Lehigh University, along with global industrial technology leader TE Connectivity and Broughal Community Middle School, will hold the 19th annual ‘TE Connectivity Expo,’ highlighting the importance of manufacturing technology to Pennsylvania’s regional economy while opening doors for kids and families of South Bethlehem.
Every year since 2000, faculty, staff, and students of Lehigh’s department of mechanical engineering and mechanics, supported by TE Connectivity, have joined forces to work with hundreds of students from Lehigh’s next door neighbor, Broughal Middle School, to learn about engineering as a potential career choice—and have a lot of fun in the process.
Over the course of each Spring semester, teams of students from Lehigh and Broughal work together to design and manufacture miniature cars in a semester long program through an undergraduate manufacturing course. The Lehigh and Broughal students form teams of five or six, come up with designs for the racecars, and then fabricate and paint them. Under the supervision of the Lehigh students, the teams learn to use computer-aided design (CAD), CNC machining, and injection-molding techniques to manufacture their dream rides.
This year, 30 teams of students from Lehigh University and Broughal Middle School—comprised of 113 mechanical engineering juniors and 56 Broughal eighth-graders—spent the spring semester designing and fabricating ‘Matchbox-style’ cars as part of Lehigh’s manufacturing course, Mechanical Engineering 240.
The semester-long collaboration culminates at the May 4 Expo with the 19th annual TE Connectivity Expo at noon on a track set up at Broughal. Bobby Gunther Walsh, a NASCAR modified stock car race driver and radio announcer with local radio station WAEB 790 AM, has once again volunteered his services as emcee.
“Our partnership with TE Connectivity is a longstanding and remarkable university-industry relationship,” says David C. Angstadt, associate chair of mechanical engineering and the professor leading the effort for the past decade. “The relationship was initially established by [Rossin College Senior Associate Dean for Research] John Coulter, who helped lead the creation of the car project. Through our continued relationship, TE Connectivity directly supports this project and the manufacturing course. However, the funding provides benefits that extend well beyond a single course.”
“The project and Expo is a boon to the kids of our local community and the public school next door,” continues Angstadt, who earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Lehigh in 2004. “However, it also benefits Lehigh students, who get an opportunity to work on a project with a tangible outcome for a real customer. The interaction with the middle school students throughout the project as well as with representatives of TE Connectivity on race day allow them to get a glimpse of how students, educators, and employers can work as partners to mutual benefit. None of this would be possible without the continued support of TE, and for that we are extremely grateful. That funding provides crucial equipment and materials to this endeavor, and allows us to do things that we would not otherwise be able to do.”
“We’re very excited about this collaboration with Lehigh University and Broughal Middle School,” says Lauren Benne, global manager of corporate responsibility at TE Connectivity. “Engineering, technology and innovation are at the heart of TE’s business, and certainly a big part of that is developing the next generation of engineering leaders. We’re proud to support this program and we look forward to seeing the innovative designs the students will be showcasing at the TE Connectivity Expo.”
According to Rick Amato, Principal of Broughal Middle School, the program is a highlight of its annual efforts to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to Broughal’s students.
“Lehigh’s campus is located across the street from our school,” says Amato, “and we are indeed fortunate to have many Lehigh students come to Broughal to work with our students to assist in their learning and to serve as positive role models. We believe that, with high expectations, our students can become the best learners they can be, and that relationships are the most powerful influencer to change oneself, one’s community, and our world. The annual effort leading up to and including TE Connectivity Expo is a great example of our school’s core values in action.”
The TE Connectivity Expo takes place Friday, May 4, from 11:00am to 2 p.m. in the Broughal Middle School gymnasium. Interested media personnel must enter the school through the main entrance doors to sign in, show ID, and obtain a visitor's badge.
TE Connectivity Ltd. is a $13 billion global technology and manufacturing leader creating a safer, sustainable, productive, and connected future. For more than 75 years, our connectivity and sensor solutions, proven in the harshest environments, have enabled advancements in transportation, industrial applications, medical technology, energy, data communications, and the home. With 78,000 employees, including more than 7,000 engineers, working alongside customers in nearly 150 countries, TE ensures that EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS.