“This is an exciting beginning,” the chancellor said at the grand opening of the program Oct. 5 at MCC’s Business & Technology campus. She challenged the College’s industry partners to replicate the Burns & McDonnell initiative on other MCC campuses.
The Design Innovation Lab is refurbished classroom space with new desks, computers and a 36-inch plotter for printing blueprints. But that’s not all: The new lab also will serve as home base for supplemental instruction for a handful of high-performing students who plan to go into the computer-aided drafting/design (CADD) and engineering technology fields. Burns & McDonnell employees facilitate the weekly sessions.
This semester, four students were selected. Each week, the students will immerse themselves in real-world projects in the engineering, science and technology fields.
Best of all, once they complete the program, MCC students will be considered for internships or employment at Burns & Mac.
The Design Innovation Lab program was made possible by gifts from Burns & McDonnell vice president Gabriel Hernandez and the engineering firm. Hernandez is also a member of the MCC Foundation board of directors.
“So excited to get it off the ground,” Hernandez said at the ceremony. The program, he added, is about “creating the pipeline” for future industry professionals. It will promote creative problem-solving and “more efficient and effective” thinking.
“We’re trying to take the MCC student of today (and) create the designer of tomorrow,” Hernandez said.
The Design Innovation Lab “will make a difference in the lives of everyone in the program today and those in the future,” said Dr. Jackie Gill, Business & Technology president.
Joel Galler, one of the students receiving supplemental instruction this semester, says it “has shown me how the skills I’ve learned in the classroom will be used in the workplace. Working through a real-world problem has given me a deeper understanding of the design process than I’ve gained so far in my normal CADD classes.”
Charley Viehland, another student, says the experience has benefited him because he can apply skills he’s learning day to day. It also “brings to the surface what I don’t know.”
“Being exposed to a company’s real design work is the next best thing to an internship or working for them,” adds Viehland, who’s working on a degree in engineering technology with an architectural emphasis. “It helps with confidence in interviews and on the first day of the job.”
Dr. Beatty noted that there are 100-plus students in the MCC engineering technology program but that Kansas City is home to some 75 architecture and engineering firms. She’d like to “double and triple” the number of students in the program to accommodate demand.
To learn more about Burns & McDonnell’s commitment to STEM education, visit burnsmcd.com/giving-and-outreach/stem-commitment.
To learn more about MCC’s engineering technology program, visit mcckc.edu/programs/engineeringtechnology.
More scenes from the event:
Watch Facebook Live video of the ceremony