UMass Lowell Joins with Lowell Schools and PTC to Teach Engineering Design to Middle Schoolers

07/08/2002


LOWELL - University of Massachusetts Lowell is the site this week of a unique collaboration with the Lowell Schools and PTC, the product development company, to provide hands-on engineering design experience to fifth- and sixth-grade students.  Through the innovative program, PTC and UMass Lowell are supporting national efforts recommended by the Committee on Technological Literacy.

            Fifteen minority middle schoolers, drawn from the Lowell Public Schools' summer SPELL program for English-as-a-Second Language students, will participate in the pilot project funded by PTC of Needham, creator of Pro/DESKTOP 3D design software.  PTC is providing two specially trained instructors and the design software, which students will be able to take home at the completion of the one-week camp.  PTC hopes the camp will serve as a model for other summer educational programs worldwide.

            "We are happy to work with educators to prepare today's students to adapt to new technology throughout their lives," said C. Richard Harrison, chief executive officer and president at PTC, "and inspire more students to become the innovators of tomorrow by choosing careers in product design and engineering.  It is essential to give the workforce of tomorrow the critical thinking and collaboration skills to use technology effectively."

During the camp, which runs Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., students will design various items, including key chains, Frisbees and airplanes, on computers and create them in University machine shops.  The program also will include recreational activities, such as songs and games, to provide a varied camp experience.

            "This creative partnership with PTC and the Lowell Schools provides an opportunity for students to discover, at a young age, that science and engineering can be fun," said Krishna Vedula, dean of the University's Francis College of Engineering.  "The hope is that these young people - who represent our future workforce - will bring a new-found enthusiasm for technical subjects back to the classroom for further exploration."

            The PTC program is being incorporated into the third year of the Francis College of Engineering's popular Design Camp, which will serve over 320 middle and high school students over the next four weeks in 18 sessions.  Other camps include Electronic and Mechanical Gizmos, Flight School, Shipwreck Electronics, Creative Contraptions, Robo Alley, Spaceship Earth, Electronics and Music, Kinetic Sculpture and Marine Engineering.  In addition, over the next month, 60 Lowell minority students will participate, free of charge, in a PTC or regular UMass Lowell Design Camp and a Tsongas Industrial History Center summer program.

The PTC pilot camp program is part of PTC's Partnership for Innovative Learning program, an initiative that helps educators prepare today's students to be the innovators of tomorrow.  The program is helping educators design an entirely new approach to teaching students how to think, create and collaborate in 3D.

            PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC) develops, markets and supports software solutions that help manufacturers get superior products to market before their competitors.  PTC is the world's largest software company with a total commitment to product development.  The company services more than 33,000 customers worldwide.  Further information on PTC is available at http://www.ptc.com.

            UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region.  Second largest of the UMass campuses, Lowell offers its 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs.

For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224