This week was not a typical week for me. For the first time in 30 years I found myself in not one, not two, but three university classrooms. Each classroom was in one of Colorado's excellent engineering schools.
I had a chance to come face-to-face with about 140 students in classrooms this week and several professors. A number of positive things came of the week which I will summarize below.
Before I relate my experiences this week, I want to first describe the various elements AFT has built to connect with the needs of universities. Over recent years AFT has been building a program geared towards universities. Most of that program can be accessed on this web page: https://www.aft.com/products/education. If you go there you can see it breaks down into three categories: Students, Instructors and Researchers
In 2016 AFT created a student version of AFT Fathom. The student version is geared towards the needs of university students studying fluid engineering. We sell it for a nominal $10. As of now it is only available to students in the USA.
For many years AFT has made all of our full, commercial software products available to universities for classroom use at a steep discount. This is available to universities in all countries and numerous universities have adopted AFT software for classroom use. A list of universities cound be found on our website here: https://www.aft.com/products/education/participating-schools. AFT is working to build this further and create more resources for instructors.
For many years AFT has made our full, commercial software available at no cost to students performing university research. This is available to universities in all countries. The research can be undergraduate or graduate. It can involve class projects or senior design projects. We have a list of projects completed on our website here: https://www.aft.com/products/education/research-project-descriptions
For the last five years it has been a goal of mine and of AFT to build relationships with the engineering professors and students at Colorado universities. Each year other demands and priorities left that goal unfulfilled. Until this year. Earlier this summer I had one of our young marketing assistants review the websites of Colorado engineering schools. I asked her to compile a list of professors along with their contact information who worked in fluid flow and heat transfer fields. She looked at programs in mechanical, chemical and civil engineering.
The end result was a list of about 40 professors. I emailed them in late August this year with an invitation to collaborate in a number of ways. I heard back from several professors and four in particular were interested in having AFT present to one of their undergraduate fluid mechanics classes. Three of those happened this past week and I went personally to present to these classrooms.
On Monday I presented at an ME class at UCCS on energy usage in pumps, fans and compressors and the value provided by system modeling.
On Wednesday I presented to two sections of ChemE students at the Colorado School of Mines on compressible flow in pipe systems.
On Friday I presented at an ME honors class in fluid mechanics at Colorado State University on waterhammer in piping systems.
The end result? We had a positive response in each class from students and professors. We had a large number of students get their own copy of AFT Fathom Student. We had several students interested in getting a copy of our full software for student projects. We got an invitation to speak to an AIChE student group. We found out about a CO-OP program at one of the universities. We have some students interested in summer internships at AFT. And we found out how to connect on funded and unfunded research projects of interest to AFT.
Finally, we got to learn a bit more about the engineering programs at these universities and the interests and experience of some of the professors. We plan to build this further in the coming months and years.
Discounted Training on AFT Products for Students and Instructors
This experience with universities over the last three months got us thinking about the product training we offer and we decided to make our training seminars available to students and professors for a nominal $50 fee. One student I talked to this week already signed up for one of our training seminars. If you are a student or engineering instructor and would like to attend any of our training seminars, check this link: https://www.aft.com/learning-center/seminars
I was energized this week by my classroom experiences and dialog with professors. I hope to get more of AFT's staff into some of these classrooms in the future. If anyone out there has an interest in what we are doing, please contact me! I would love to hear from you!