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2018 The Year of STEM

 by Sarah Maher,


At General Kinematics we believe that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are vital subjects to teach future generations. Over the years, General Kinematics employees have been involved in many different programs to teach and promote these fields through local school activities, clubs, and community involvement events. 2018 has been a whirlwind of these events and programs. Below we would like to highlight a few of the people and events that have made this year stand out for STEM involvement.



First Robotics

First Robotics is a program for students in 9th-12th grade to explore fields of STEM through designing, building, and programming their own robots. The program results in a competition that provides hundreds of scholarships to students around the world. General Kinematics has been a proud sponsor of two local teams for several years, working with the team to build custom machine parts for their robot designs. In late March, the students that comprise the two First Robotics teams visited General Kinematics to present their robots and share their activities and amazing results.




In January of 2018, General Kinematics’ VP of Technical Services, Randy Smith attended the STEM Fair at Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake. Representing General Kinematics, Randy spoke to the crowd of 7th and 8th graders about the type of careers they can look forward to in manufacturing and engineering fields.



“Made in Your Own Backyard”

On October 4th 2018, Crystal Lake area high school students toured local manufacturing facilities including General Kinematics as a part of Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce’s “Made in Your Own Backyard Day” and MFG Day. During the visit to GK, the students were shown the importance of Manufacturing, Technology, and Engineering as well as other employment opportunities through real-life examples. The goal of the event was to create an interest in local employment opportunities in manufacturing for McHenry County and support the effort to retain talent in our community.



Iron Pour

One student that was not able to attend “Made in Your Own Backyard” but had shown a keen interest in metalworking was able, under the wing of Randy Smith, to attend the University of Wisconsin Platteville’s Annual Iron Pour event. The hands-on event managed by the university teaching staff and students promotes careers in casting technology expanding the young student’s horizons in the metalworking industry.



Virginia Tech, AFS

On November 14, 2018, Jim Egan (GK’s North American Sales Director) and Randy Smith attended an AFS Conference at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Randy participated as a keynote speaker at the event providing a technical presentation for natural frequency theory and its application for vibratory equipment. The conference was well attended by many local students interested in metallurgical programs in the foundry industry.

Student Visit

When asked why he is involved in so many of these events, Randy had this to say: “We all certainly need to do what we can to help encourage young people to become interested in pursuing education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our future will be mapped by these bright young minds and it is imperative that we do all in our power to widen their horizons.”


General Kinematics would like to thank everyone that attended these events and made 2018 the year of STEM.


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