Guitar course, MIMIC featured

at national, regional conferences

Two technical projects at Illinois Valley Community College are being featured at national, regional and state conferences.

A Taste of Engineering Careers (TEC) course that teaches high school students to design and build electric guitars is being highlighted at the National Association for Workforce Improvement (NAWI) Conference in Alexandria, Virginia April 20 –23, at the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) in Orlando Florida July 26-29, and at the American Society for Engineering Education IL/IN Section Conference at Purdue University April 9 – 10. The TEC course was recently featured at the Connections Conference in St. Charles, Ill. in early March.

The TEC course, offered for the first time in fall 2009 to students at LaSalle-Peru High School and the Area Career Center, introduces students to engineering careers by focusing on guitar building. The students earn two hours of college credit and keep the guitar they build.

The guitar course is one initiative in a $520,000 National Science Foundation grant project designed to increase interest in engineering careers among young people, adults and women in the IVCC district.

"We want people to experience engineering technology first-hand and to see how important it really is," said Dorene Perez, Program Coordinator of Computer-Aided-Engineering and Computer-Aided Design and Principal Investigator on the NSF grant.

"Most people don’t understand the impact of engineering on their lives; they don’t realize that products from the paper for building paper airplanes to the components of a rocket ship require engineering."

Perez is team teaching the TEC course with Jim Gibson, Program Coordinator of Electronics and co-Principal Investigator on the NSF grants. Mark French, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University, is serving as a consultant for the course.

The Making Industry Meaningful In College (MIMIC) project was featured at the League for Innovation in the Community College Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, March 28-31.

The award-winning MIMIC project teams students in engineering design, electronics and business into student companies to design, produce, market and sell products. Pioneered at IVCC in 1995, MIMIC has been widely publicized in nationally distributed technical publications and at national and international conferences including the American Society for Engineering Education International Colloquium in Beijing, China in 2004. From 2005 to 2008, MIMIC was supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

IVCC staff members presenting at the conferences are Perez, Gibson, Sue Caley Opsal, Tracy Morris and Rose Marie Lynch. Opsal, Anatomy and Physiology Professor; and Lynch, communications instructor, are co-principal investigators on the NSF grant. Morris, Director of Admissions and Records, is a senior personnel on the grant.

Further information about the TEC course, MIMIC project and other NSF grant activities is available from Perez at 815-224-0221 and from