Stratasys Funds DEI Scholarship for SME Education Foundation April 01, 2023 by SME Education Foundation Stratasys, a longtime partner of the SME Education Foundation, recently added another facet to the organizations’ partnership by funding the Foundation’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) scholarship initiative. The Stratasys Scholarship will provide a $20,000 award — $5,000 per year for four years — to a high school senior who belongs to a population that is historically underrepresented within manufacturing and engineering, and who is pursuing a manufacturing or engineering degree at the post-secondary level. Stratasys is the first corporate donor to support all three of the Foundation’s programs: scholarships, SME PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) and student summits, which include the SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Competition. “It just makes sense, because we’re trying to impact the same group of people,” says Jesse Roitenberg, education director for the Americas at Stratasys, a leader in the manufacturing of complete polymer 3D printing solutions. “We’re trying to boost the awareness of [manufacturing] talents, because we’ve been asked by many companies where they get the next generation of people.” Stratasys began talking to the Foundation about funding the scholarship in September 2022 at the IMTS Smartforce Student Summit, where Stratasys delivered presentations on 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the Foundation’s booth. Stratasys also partners with the Foundation in the SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Competition, which the two organizations cofounded in 2013. The competition — which provides contestants with hands-on experience in the latest 3D-printing technology and software — has grown from 13 competitors in 2015 to 70 in 2022. In addition, Stratasys participates — as a student-friendly exhibitor and/or keynote speaker — at SME Bright Minds Student Summits at SME events. As for the SME PRIME program, Stratasys works very closely with the same high schools and universities that the SME Education Foundation does. Not only does Stratasys provide 3D printers to each SME PRIME school at a discount, it helps the schools set up the printers, and provides them with tailored, in-person support for professional development of PRIME educators. “We need the next generation, so not only are we doing contests and a scholarship, we’re doing everything that we think we need to make sure the instructors teaching this are equipped,” says Roitenberg. “We do a lot with SME, the SME Education Foundation and the PRIME schools to boost students’ awareness of the capabilities of the tools around them. At the end of the day, we don’t care if a student wants to go into additive manufacturing, but what we need them to do is know when and why you would do subtractive manufacturing versus additive manufacturing.” Regarding the Foundation, Roitenberg says, “They are the best partner we have, because they understand what a partnership means. They understand that they have to put in the effort; it’s not just tying your name to something.” For information on supporting the SME Education Foundation, contact Christian Jensen at email@example.com.