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2018 Automation Fair: Engineering Our Future

Before getting swept up in the holiday season, MIND Research Institute (MIND) had the unique opportunity to be part of Rockwell Automation’s 2018 Automation Fair®. The premier industrial automation event was held November 14-15 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and brought together over 10,000 industrial automation and information manufacturers and producers to learn about new innovations and take part in training, industry forums and networking events.

In addition to investing in our ST Math® program, research and development, and general operating support, Rockwell Automation allows us to engage with their business partners and associates from across 80 countries that attend the Automation Fair.

MIND was invited to be part of the “Engineering our Future™” exhibit along with another leading STEM-based organization, FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics. The Engineering our Future exhibit showcased the programs Rockwell Automation invests in which deeply engage students in problem solving while having fun!

In the exhibit, we featured ST Math and our new MathMINDs Games: South of the Sahara, funded by Rockwell Automation. And since kids are the ones being directly impacted by these programs, we thought, who better than the kids to showcase them?

We conducted outreach to our ST Math school partners in Philadelphia and asked if some of their students would join in on the fun. We hoped that the kids would show attendees the importance of math education and teach them about our innovative programs. Our partner schools obliged and 20 ST Math students and their teachers and school leaders arrived ready to show off their math skills.

Dana Pawinski, Eastern Region Social Impact Director at MIND, co-lead the exhibit activities with MIND’s Product Director, Brandon Smith, and said that the students were phenomenal to work with. “It was amazing to see the kids build their confidence around thousands of adults in business suits! I thought the students would be nervous to approach people, but we worked with them and within minutes they were running out and asking attendees, ‘Do you like math?’ And of course, who’s not going to respond to that?”

While attendees got a kick out of playing our math games with students and gained a new perspective on learning, the students had the opportunity to see themselves as future STEM leaders.

“One of the kids said that he is now going to be an entrepreneur in engineering,” said Dana. “The adults were very receptive to learning from the kids, and the kids were able to think bigger. They could envision themselves as manufacturers, engineers, entrepreneurs and other STEM professionals because they got to meet attendees who have STEM careers and are doing exciting and innovative things within critical STEM industries. It was really cool to watch the students have that opportunity.”

At the end of the event, Rockwell Automation and MIND sent each student a special certificate to thank them for teaching adults the power of math at the Automation Fair.

2018 was our second year in a row of exhibiting at the Automation Fair and the momentum is building! This year we were delighted at how many attendees visited us and were excited to learn more about the work MIND is doing. A lot of that engagement is in thanks to Rockwell Automation and their continued support.

“Being part of Automation Fair demonstrates our dual partnership,” said Dana. “We both have missions that we’re helping each other advance. Rockwell Automation really supports everything we do and we support them with the next generation of mathematically-skilled workers. We’re providing them with a solution to strengthen the STEM workforce pipeline, and they’re helping us to provide math education, experiences and solutions for students and school communities. Together, we’re building a much needed STEM workforce for our country and the world.”

Thank you to Rockwell Automation for having us, and we hope to see you at the 2019 Automation Fair, November 20-21 in Chicago, Illinois!

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Kelsey Skaggs

About the Author

Kelsey Skaggs is the Public Relations and Communications Specialist at MIND Research Institute. She enjoys highlighting the work of colleagues and partners who champion MIND's mission.

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