JASPER, Ind. – High school students put their skills to the test on
the Vincennes University Jasper campus for National Manufacturing Day,
competing in hands-on activities showcasing manufacturing skills and
learning about the industry.
The competitions were a part of the first Technology, Innovation and
Manufacturing Challenge held on Oct. 3 in The Center for Technology,
Innovation and Manufacturing on the VU Jasper campus. Twenty-four
teams of 144 students from nine high school corporations participated
in the event.
Students competed in eight challenges sponsored by local companies,
including Jasper Engines and Transmissions; Waupaca Foundry; Farbest
Foods, Inc.; Indiana Furniture; Kimball International; Kimball
Electronics; Best Home Furnishings; and MasterBrand Cabinets.
“The best part was being able to work with my friends,” Jasper High
School student Edwin Sanchez said. “I got to learn what they could do
and learn what I could do, which was a lot of fun. The challenges were
all really challenging. I had a lot of fun trying to figure them out.”
More than $3,500 in cash prizes were awarded to the first-, second-
and third-place finishers of each challenge, the top overall teams and
other winners. The top three overall teams were Heritage Hills No. 1,
Pike Central No. 2, and Southridge No. 3. The Heritage Hills No. 1
team won the Teamwork Communication Award.
“We got to see a lot of companies in our area and the good
opportunities that they provide as well as work on communication
skills with teammates and practice the engineering principles that we
work on in school,” said Nick Brinkman, a senior at Heritage Hills
Students were tasked with executing a variety of challenges. The
Jasper Engines and Transmissions’ challenge involved building a filter
to create pure water. Kimball International had students determine the
best way to package a 3-D printed chair for delivery, then tested
their methods using a robot. The Farbest Foods’ challenge involved
creating a way to distribute turkey feed to a toy dump truck,
transporting the feed to a turkey farm, assembling a fan to cool the
animals, then loading miniature turkeys into a truck for processing,
and loading the product for delivery.
“This challenge is a really great idea by VUJ,” said Alex Mlsna, a
Technical Service Manager for Kimball International. “There’s a lot of
technology and information in Dubois County, and this is a way to help
bring it closer to students in the area and get them involved. I can
see this really growing.”
The Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing Challenge is another
example of VU Jasper bringing industry and education together.
“The facilities at VU Jasper are top notch and bringing in area
industries to have these competitions for the students is a lot of fun
for them,” said Andy Fischer, an engineering teacher at Heritage Hills
High School. “It also lets the students branch out to know what is
available in our area.”
Businesses are challenged with recruiting and training their
workforce. VU Jasper is helping bridge the gap by hosting events like
this and offering incumbent worker training programs, workforce
development initiatives such at the Career Advancement Partnership
(CAP) program, and the Automation and Robotics Academy where high
school students are immersed in a learning environment and real-time
work experience. The CTIM also houses three programs for the Patoka
Valley Career and Technical Education Cooperative.
“We think it’s really valuable that students learn about the career
opportunities offered locally,” said Kate Schwenk, a People Services
Representative at Jasper Engines and Transmissions. “This really
engaged the kids and hopefully opened their eyes to different
problem-solving challenges and different careers within the community.
There are career opportunities locally. They don’t have to leave to
find their career choices.”
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY JASPER CAMPUS
The Vincennes University Jasper Campus is a vital part of Indiana’s
first college, Vincennes University. The Jasper Campus fulfills the
vision of a Dubois County citizens group CoHERE, founded in 1960, that
was dedicated to improving area education and cultural enrichment.
Vincennes University joined as a strong partner opening a Jasper
location in 1970.
VU Jasper is located on a beautiful 140-acre campus on the southeast
side of Jasper. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, VUJ
tuition and fees rank among the most affordable of all Indiana
colleges. In addition to offering associate degree and certificate
programs, VUJ students can complete a bachelor’s degree online or at
the Vincennes Campus.
VU Jasper’s Center for Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing is a
hub for community engagement in local education. It is home to the
Career Advancement Partnership (CAP) program, a major workforce
development initiative between VUJ and local manufacturing companies.
It also houses several programs for the Patoka Valley Career and
Technical Education Cooperative, including a new Automation and
In addition to the CTIM, other campus facilities include the Alvin C.
Ruxer Student Center, Arnold F. Habig Library Learning Center,
Administrative Classroom Building, and a Jasper Campus Classroom
Building that holds a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory for
healthcare training. Adjacent to the campus is the Jasper Arts Center
that includes a 675-seat theatre and visual arts galleries.
The VU Jasper Campus has developed to serve thousands of students in
Dubois, Spencer, Martin, Perry, Crawford, Harrison, Pike, Orange,
Daviess, Lawrence and other surrounding counties in Indiana.
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports
Information Director 812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,
VUNews@vinu.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org VINCENNES UNIVERSITY,
Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom