• March 24, 2023

    STEAM students present to Eaton execs

    STEAM presentationFour teams of STEAM students recently traveled to Eaton Corp in Moon Township to present their work to a team of corporate executives. Students were tasked with researching and developing solutions for a variety of challenges, from environmentally friendly packaging improvements to creating a demonstration wall that features interactive media.

    The students are enrolled in the Honors STEAM Innovation & Consulting course taught by Mr. Fred Peskorski. Within the class, students work to solve real world problems using Human Centered Design techniques as well as more traditional problem-solving methods.

    The final phase of this course requires students to work with industry partners to solve real problems that need to be addressed within those companies. Students have been working with Eaton Corp, an international Fortune 500 Company that focuses on reliable, efficient, safe and sustainable power management technologies. This marks the third year that Eaton has partnered with the STEAM course.

    STEAM presentationWhile all of the program’s partnering corporations provide challenging problems for the students, Eaton Corp is unique in several ways.

    “Eaton has dedicated engineers and/or executives assigned to each student team who've been proactive in guiding students as they work through the problem-solving process,” Mr. Peskorski said. “They have always provided honest feedback with critique that is thoughtful and meaningful to our students. And, Eaton is a global multi-billion-dollar company that has a manufacturing process distinctly different from our other partners.”

    The STEAM Innovation & Consulting course gives students an opportunity to apply newly learned problem-solving methods and their own unique strengths to solve real world challenges. These are problems that are varied in scope and often require students to explore new subject areas that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about.

    “Generally speaking, any time that students get a sense of the type of problems faced in companies of any size, it informs them about potential career choices,” Mr. Peskorski said. “The problems that we get from our industry partners are intentionally diverse where any problem, from front office through shipping a finished product, is on the table.”

    While each team does focus on its specific problem, throughout the duration of the partnership, the class participates in status meetings where each team shares the work that they have been doing.

    “This exposure can enlighten students about a field of interest that they had no idea existed, or equally valuable, the exposure could reveal that they don't enjoy or have a proclivity for something that they thought they would want to pursue,” Mr. Peskorski said.

    While you cannot exactly duplicate ‘real world experiences’ in the classroom, Mr. Peskorki believes the experiences in the Honors STEAM Innovation & Consulting course is about as close to it as you can get.

    “Students work in teams as consultants for our partners,” he said. “The problems given to them are real and our partners have expectations that these kids will develop solutions that are either immediately implementable, or provide a framework that they can use in house to build their own solutions.”

    Prior to their work with Eaton Corp, these students worked with EAFab, a Pittsburgh-based company that designs and fabricates equipment and parts for steel mills throughout North America. Following this collaboration, students will spend time working as consultants for Tom Brown, Inc.

    The STEAM Innovation & Consulting course was launched in 2014 as a partnership between the Upper St. Clair and South Fayette high schools, the Luma Institute, All Clad Metalcrafters LLC, and EAFab Corp.

    Any corporations or organizations that may be interested in partnering with the Honors STEAM Innovation & Consulting course, should contact Mr. Peskorski at fpeskorski@uscsd.k12.pa.us.

    Eaton Corp STEAM Challenges

    Green Packaging
    (Team members: Ryan Higgs, Paige Kline, Phillip Markovitz, and Baden Friday)
    Evaluate packaging for our highest volume molded case circuit breaker and air circuit breaker to plan how we could make environmentally friendly improvements. Research and suggest environmentally friendly alternatives, different approaches to packaging, and predict the cost impact to the products.

    Demo Wall
    (Team members: Nikita Redkin, Jeremy Fleming, Damu Gummadi, and Devon Dusi)
    Design and build a wall that can be used to demonstrate simulations of a variety of Eaton Corp equipment, allowing customers to switch between the product choices and various UIs on multiple systems.

    (Team members: Jack Dietrick, Anthony Cardello, Ronin Lanning, and Prachi Chetlur)
    Define new workflows and/or develop new tools to help Eaton Corp update accurate promise ship dates that align with future production forecasts and customer order prioritization.

    Vehicle Comparison
    (Team members: Colby Bernard, Quinton Miller, and Danny Young)
    Determine and suggest a vehicle to buy which would have the lowest total cost and/or least impact on the environment.