Students from Dean Technical High School in Holyoke, Mass., learned about plastics and thermoforming thanks to a Feb. 29 visit from the SPE Plastivan.
Universal Plastics Corp., a Holyoke-based custom thermoformer, sponsored the event along with the Western New England Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
“Many students today still think of manufacturing as dark and dirty factories and not high tech environments offering excellent jobs and wages,” said Joe Peters, CEO of Universal Plastics.
The Plastivan program is in its 19th year of trying to change young people's — and educators' — attitudes about plastics.
Feedback from the school to the visit was positive.
Marcus Holt, a teacher at Dean Tech, wrote: “I want to express my appreciation for the great presentation, and the huge energy you brought to my classes. In a challenging environment you really pushed through to expose the students to an interesting high need industry. They all really loved the hands on experiments, and will be on me to bring more of those fun experiences to the class regularly.”
Dustin Rose Joyner, head of the math & science department, added: “I can assure you that quite a few [students] left your presentation with a better understanding of the plastics industry as well as peaked curiosities as to how it can be applied. We truly appreciate Universal Plastics for allowing this to happen and look forward to, what we hope, will lead to more students understanding and considering the chemical engineering industry and others like it."
"Again, thank you for your time and efforts, the students truly appreciated it,” he said.
The Plastivan program introduces students to plastics chemistry, history, manufacturing, sustainability and applications. Students participate in hands-on scientific activities as they learn about the advantages of plastics, environmental benefits, and careers in engineering.