Thursday, 09 April 2020 12:20

Early College Career Academy Instructor Using Technical Skills To Fill A Critical Need

Gage Simpson wearing a face shield he has been 3D printing to support rural healthcare. Photo provided. Gage Simpson wearing a face shield he has been 3D printing to support rural healthcare. Photo provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — When Gage Simpson received an email from Siemens Industries in Latham about local STEM ecosystems, he didn’t hesitate to become part of a growing grassroots initiative across New York State. 

Budmen Industries out of Liverpool, NY has made available, free to the public for download, a 3D printing template with instructions to produce face shields. Budmen Industries was a presenter at the Collaborative Educators Summit. Siemens advised the Capital Region STEM Hub that Watertown City School District, which attends the Summit annually, has taken the initiative to start producing these masks while students are out of school and sent every 3D printers home with Career and Technical Education (CTE) staff. That was all Simpson needed to hear when he approached his supervisor at WSWHE BOCES with the idea of pitching in.

Simpson is an advanced manufacturing instructor in the PTECH and Early College Career Academy, a partnership with SUNY Adirondack and WSWHE BOCES. In addition to his daily remote teaching responsibilities, Simpson is running his two classroom 3D printers at home to produce 6 masks per day. These will support local healthcare professionals in rural counties who are in desperate need of PPE equipment. 

“I have several students in the 2020 graduating class with parents in the healthcare industry. We were all concerned with the shortage of PPE in New York and wanted an opportunity to help out. Utilizing the advanced manufacturing equipment and production technology, we can hopefully provide some protection for remote healthcare workers that do not have any other options,” says Simpson

 Kim Wegner, who is the lead coordinator for innovative programs at WSWHE BOCES says, “I think what Gage is doing is great and models innovation for our students. I hope that other local school districts that have 3D printers will see what Gage is doing and will also help out.” 

Simpson will be sending 10 masks to the Indian Lake Emergency Squad, 10 to the North Creek Health Center, and 10 to the North Warren Emergency Squad. He is reaching out to rural county boards of health to assess their needs. If you are a healthcare provider in Warren, Washington, Hamilton or Essex county and in need of these masks, you can contact Kim Wegner for more information.

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