Pearl Technologies Inc., a leading manufacturer of parts for converting and extrusion capital equipment, recently partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) by presenting at a program called Summer Math Applications in Science with Hands-on Experience for Girls, (‘SMASH’), to encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career opportunities.
Headquartered in Savannah, NY, Pearl is located about 60 miles east of RIT. The company has been working with the college since 2011, when Pearl had its first co-op student; it has had numerous co-op students since then and has established an ongoing relationship with the college. Recently, the college hosted SMASH, an event for 8th grade girls to come and get excited about learning about the STEM fields.
Pearl sent Vice President of Operations, Linda Gillette, and Jennifer Gillette, Global Marketing Coordinator at Pearl and a 2013 alum of the college, to the event for a company presentation day. While there, Linda and Jennifer explained how math and science applied to the plastics industry and manufacturing by showing the girls various punch profiles and slitting angles. A brief discussion also included the importance of math when designing equipment for converting or extruding applications. To engage and encourage them further, the girls even had an opportunity to punch their own hole in a bag with Pearl's Flex 3 Unit. The girls said it was an "awesome experience" and they were proud to show off their hole punching craftsmanship to their parents when they arrived.
SMASH reported an extremely successful showing, with the young women showing lots of enthusiasm and interest.
"This event was one we felt was important not just for Pearl, but also for the young women of this region and for our country as a whole," said Linda Gillette, who was recently featured as one of Plastics News’ Women in Plastics. “I think we were able to get the point across to these girls that they can succeed and have fun in STEM careers. They are intelligent, capable young women who can pursue any career choice they’re interested in, and STEM careers provide some great opportunities.”
Pearl was personally selected from a group of local businesses to work with the College of Science, Women in Science, and the Center for Advanced Science/ Math Teaching, Learning & Evaluation on SMASH. The program, which took place over a week in July and hosted 43 8th graders, introduced the girls to the importance of mathematical modeling in future jobs. The event was hosted at RIT, and a special was filmed for the local Time Warner Cable News station (see it here!).