IPC Education Foundation STEM Outreach at IPC APEX EXPO 2022

ipcapexexpo Jan 31, 2022


The IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) hosted its annual STEM Outreach event on Thursday, January 27th at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego and close to 80 students from E3 Civic High School attended the day’s activities. Due to Covid restrictions and regulations on field trips the Foundation could unfortunately not host all the schools and students as initially planned.


The day was packed with several hands-on technical activities, career exploration, and industry engagement. The students participated in educational tracks with a focus on soldering, PCB design, a roundtable discussion and a tour of the IPC APEX Show Floor. The IPC Education Foundation believes that these kinds of activities raise awareness of the skills needed and opportunities available in the electronics manufacturing industry.

The event kicked off the day’s proceedings with an inspirational video and personal keynote address by Sean Patterson, President of the Americas for Nano Dimension about the industry, the company and their future goals. The Career Panel Luncheon, sponsored by the TTM Technologies were broadcasted live to approximately 600 attendees and was moderated by John Mitchell, IPC President and CEO. The panelists represented the industry and shared insights, and personal career path journeys were Matt Kelly: IPC’s Chief Technologist, Christina Rutherford: Engineer Product Design, Fluids Lab Work Director, Chemical Processing Certifying Agent (CA) at Honeywell, Chance Tiner: Mechanical Process Engineer from TTM Technologies, Aviram Iancovici: Application Engineer at Nano Dimension, and Jason Fullerton: Manufacturing Engineer from CAES.

Kelly encouraged students to consider pursuing internship opportunities and said that “an internship is as valuable as earning your degree or qualification” and Fullerton echoed it by saying that an internship opened his eyes about what he really wanted to do as a career. “I changed my major from an industrial engineer to manufacturing engineer and this change suited me better. I learned what I wanted to do in the factory and I was able to identify that before I was pigeon holed into something I wouldn’t enjoy for the rest of my life. The second most valuable thing I learned was that I was able to work with industry experts that’s been in the industry for 10, 20, 30 years that became mentors to me.” Tiner added that hands-on experience and projects you’ve done definitely adds value to your resume and that any form or qualification in computer science would be extremely valuable or beneficial to you in terms of career opportunities today.


Perhaps even more impactful, the students were able to engage with industry professionals during the round table career discussion where they had the opportunity to engage with IPC’s Emerging Engineers, mentors and industry representatives.  Several students asked questions to a diverse group of industry professionals who provided answers often prompting other professionals in the room to share their experiences.



The IPC Design Booth was a prominent stop on the show floor tour and representatives from Altium and Upverter Education educated the students on PCB Design. The students and teachers also had the opportunity to learn more about the PCBeTheChange Student Design Competition as the winners of the high school and college/university divisions were showcased at the booth. To learn more about the winners: click here.



The student participation and awards were made possible through the generous support of our event sponsors: TTM Technologies, CAES, DigiKey, Google, Mycronic and IConnect-007. In-kind donations were made possible by NanDimension, Novagard, Omron, Zestron, Kyzen, and Chemcut. We are truly grateful for their support and participation in the day’s activities. This event was also made possible by the wonderful support by many volunteers who gave their time to be there for the students. The IPC Emerging Engineers and IPC Emerging Engineer Apprentices, IPC Staff and industry representatives volunteered during the soldering activity, round table career discussion and ushered the students on the IPC APEX show floor. The IPC Education Foundation donated $1,000 to E3 Civic High school along with 3 soldering stations, rulers and Innovation textbooks sponsored by DigiKey to encourage soldering and STEM activities in the classrooms. 

One of the students of E3 Civic High School thanked IPC and the IPC Education Foundation for this event on behalf of the scholars in attendance and said: “Thank you so much for having this event. It was the best day ever and we enjoyed the experience very much.” The students and teachers left feeling inspired.  We believe that we planted the seeds of the possibility for an emerging workforce to consider the electronics manufacturing industry a viable career path. We look forward to hosting more students at the 2023 STEM Outreach Event.


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