UMFK

UMFK to offer 3D printing class and provide free 3D printers

FORT KENT, Maine – Imagine; you’re a high school student taking an online early college class for college credit. The class is introducing you to the many exciting developments in the world of 3D printing technology. You’re working on your class at home and your instructor assigns an activity that requires having access to a 3D printer. Until now, this may have posed an insurmountable hurdle to your success in this class. Who has a 3D printer readily available at home?

The answer is a group of public high school students from throughout Maine who will be enrolled in Introduction to 3D Printing; an online class from the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Rural U Early College Program this spring semester. Every student enrolled in that class will have a 3D printer in their home due to the ingenuity and generosity of the Perloff Family Foundation; and they’ll get to keep the printer even after the class is over.

Introduction to 3D Printing is the second technology class that has been developed as part of a partnership between Maine’s Project>Login and UMFK’s Rural U program. Computers, Coding, and Careers, the first class launched last year, is now offered each fall to Maine high school students. The unique educational partnership caught the attention of the Perloff Family Foundation and it seemed like a great opportunity to meet the foundation’s goals of promoting innovative and cutting edge educational opportunities.  

The Perloff Family Foundation will be providing each registered student a 3D printer and related supplies to complete hands-on 3D printing projects. According to Dave and Sandy Perloff, “We believe that many 21st century career opportunities require early and continuous access to design tools and fabrication equipment. We are pleased to be able to support UMFK’s Rural U Early College Program by putting these resources directly in the hands of aspiring high school students.”

3D printing is emerging as an ever more important aspect of many industries including manufacturing, technology and even medical science. Students in this class will not only learn about the technology and how it is applied in industry, but will engage in experiential learning projects using their own 3D printer. UMFK has hired Professor Stephen LaRochelle of Kennebec Valley Community College to teach this class. LaRochelle has played a critical role in promoting 3D printing as a gateway skill to 21st-century careers in manufacturing in Maine and in the region.

This partnership between the Perloff Family Foundation, Rural U, and Project> Login is one that aligns the educational missions of all three organizations. The Perloff Family Foundation provides funding that enables teachers to be educational innovators who are committed to planning, risk taking and achieving timely results. UMFK’s Rural U program provides early college and concurrent enrollment opportunities to approximately 1,300 high school students in Maine high schools each year.  

Project>Login, a program of Educate Maine, is the state’s leading resource for anyone interested in the computing and information technology field. The program works with K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and Maine employers with tech jobs to connect Mainers today with careers for the future. Additional financial support for this initiative is being provided by the Maine Space Grant Consortium.

For more information on this program, please call 207-834-8645 or go to https://ruralu.umfk.edu/.

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