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Titan Spotlight

Titan Expo Explores Diverse Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing

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Cal State Fullerton hosted the Titan Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Expo 2024 on April 16, bringing together a diverse array of students, educators, industry leaders and community partners. Approximately 500 people attended the event, which was sponsored by the Orange County Department of Education K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant and the California State University Global Hispanic-Serving Institution Equity Innovation Hub. The expo explored cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and career pathways.

Keynote Address: Busting Myths, Embracing Opportunities

In her keynote address, “Busting Myths and Shaping the Future of American Manufacturing,” Michele Nash, founder and president of ElectroFab Sales, challenged prevailing misconceptions about the future of U.S. manufacturing. Nash emphasized the resurgence of manufacturing jobs and the importance of domestic production for national security and environmental sustainability.

“Manufacturing jobs are coming back, and they are not dumb, dirty or dangerous,” said Nash. “Reshoring and advanced manufacturing are creating an upswing in the United States.”

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Sagil James, associate professor of mechanical engineering and the event’s coordinator, said the expo focused on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within the manufacturing industry, particularly in the biomanufacturing sector.

“Fostering equitable pathways in biomanufacturing and biotechnology not only expands opportunities for underrepresented students, but also nurtures a diverse workforce poised to drive innovation and growth across these vital fields,” said James.

Diverse Participation

The event witnessed a remarkable community of industry leaders, educational institutions and aspiring students, underscoring the collaborative spirit driving the future of manufacturing. Approximately 350 students and 150 industry partners attended, including representatives from Advanced Technologies Consultants, Applied Medical, Autodesk, Cognex, Curtiss Wright, DIAG USA, Hexagon, Keyence Corp., Lumis Automation and RBC Bearings.

Educational institutions in attendance ranged from high schools to community colleges and universities, including:

  • Anaheim Union High School District
  • Buena Park High School
  • Cal State Fullerton
  • Canyon High School
  • Capistrano Unified School District
  • Cal State Long Beach
  • East Los Angeles College
  • Fullerton College
  • Fullerton Joint Union High School District
  • Garden Grove Unified School District
  • Irvine Valley College
  • Los Alamitos High School
  • Newport-Mesa Unified School District
  • Rancho Santiago Community College District
  • Rio Hondo College
  • Saddleback College
  • Santa Ana College
  • Santa Ana Unified School District
  • South Orange County Community College District

Strengthening Industry-Academia Partnerships

The Manufacturing Education Pathways Forum facilitated insightful roundtable discussions between educators and industry professionals, exploring strategies to enhance manufacturing education pathways. A key goal was to unify efforts in revamping the K-16 manufacturing curriculum with advanced technologies and practical skills to align with future workforce needs.

“By fostering collaboration between educators and industry experts, we can ensure that our curriculum remains relevant and equips students with the skills and knowledge required to thrive in the rapidly evolving manufacturing sector,” said James.

Technology Demonstrations by Manufacturing Industries

Attendees had the opportunity to witness cutting-edge manufacturing technologies in action at the expo, including advancements in automation, robotics, additive manufacturing, IoT-enabled machinery and more. Industry experts and representatives from leading companies showcased these technologies, providing valuable insights into their applications across various fields, such as biomedical and biomanufacturing. Through interactive demonstrations and live presentations, participants gained firsthand experience and understanding of how these technologies enhance productivity, efficiency and product quality in diverse manufacturing processes.

Attendees explored work-based learning opportunities as industry professionals shared their experiences and offered guidance on career pathways within the manufacturing sector. This engaging and informative session provided valuable exposure to the transformative power of technology in shaping the future of manufacturing across multiple industries. Participants witnessed cutting-edge biofabrication and 3D bioprinting techniques from industry specialists.

Student Showcase and Innovation

The student manufacturing showcase and innovation zone allowed attendees to witness groundbreaking projects by student innovators, including Makerspace creations, graduate research and student work in 3D bioprinting, synthetic biology and eco-friendly solutions.

“The innovative solutions showcased by our students demonstrate the boundless possibilities of educational manufacturing innovation. These projects have the power to reshape the manufacturing landscape and address pressing global challenges like tissue engineering and regenerative medicine,” said Rahul Pashpuleti, a graduate student in mechanical engineering who is working on his master’s thesis related to 3D bioprinting and the lead student coordinator for the event.

Advanced Manufacturing Programs

The expo highlighted two key programs at Cal State Fullerton. The Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Certificate program provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the manufacturing industry.

“The Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Certificate Program is a testament to our commitment to preparing a skilled workforce for the future,” said James. “By combining theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience, we are equipping our students with the tools they need to drive innovation and succeed in this dynamic field.”

The Biomanufacturing Sciences and Applications Certificate program focuses on the emerging field of biomanufacturing, which involves the use of biological systems to create products across various industries, including health care, agriculture, textiles, environmental science, energy and construction.

Forging Ahead: Catalyzing Innovation and Inclusivity

The Titan Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Expo 2024 served as a catalyst for driving innovation and promoting inclusivity within the manufacturing sector. Moving forward, the event organizers aim to further strengthen partnerships between educational institutions and industry leaders, fostering a continuous exchange of knowledge and resources. This collaborative approach will fuel the development of cutting-edge curriculum and training programs that align with the rapidly evolving needs of the manufacturing workforce.

Additionally, the expo will continue to prioritize initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion, creating equitable pathways for underrepresented groups to thrive in manufacturing careers. By nurturing an environment that embraces innovation, collaboration and inclusivity, the Titan Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Expo paves the way for a more technologically advanced, sustainable and equitable future for the manufacturing industry, inspiring and empowering the next generation of diverse manufacturing professionals.

Charis Hill