A basic egg-drop activity becomes a comprehensive experience around lean packaging when students get points, not just for the safe transport of an egg, but also for keeping the packaging’s weight low, making it reusable, and making it look good so it has additional value as a marketing tool. This was the first hands-on activity for students attending the Logistics Engineering Technology: Early College Experience at Columbus State Community College last June. From here, students spent three days getting to know the campus and learning about cutting edge technologies that are shaping occupations in the logistics field.
In its second year, the experiential summer program is part of a project to build an academic pathway for Logistics Engineering Technicians funded by a National Science Foundation grant under the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The project addresses skills and knowledge gaps found in emerging occupations in the logistics field where automation and sophisticated computerized systems are becoming more prevalent.
Through the project, Columbus State launched a new AAS degree in Logistics Engineering and Technology and implemented a multi-disciplinary pre-college initiative involving students, parents, advisors, guidance counselors, and educators.
“We learned that students are interested in attending the summer program because it’s an engineering and STEM focused program, not necessarily because they’re excited about logistics,” said Tara Sheffer, Grant Coordinator at Columbus State. “Typically, about thirty percent know what logistics is or has a parent working in logistics. But, a good number are coming because it says engineering and it says STEM in the program description. That’s where we see this degree taking off. Students are looking for a way to be involved in engineering.”
Over the course of the program, students were surveyed about their feelings and perceptions of logistics. Generally, their impressions and attitudes became more positive as the camp progressed. When asked what aspect of the camp had the largest impact on their attitude toward LET as a major or a career, one student wrote that the camp, “made me appreciate all the different areas of LET. I really enjoyed hearing from the people in the field.”