The Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center recently partnered with the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute to introduce student military veterans to entrepreneurship. Atlanta MBDA Centers’ clients Joseph Lewis, CEO of Flentek Solutions, and Walter Griggs, CEO of Squarepac, led a discussion on the importance of 1) staying ahead of change by creating solutions to challenges customers are currently facing and 2) taking advantage of networking opportunities to expand their businesses.
In 2019, the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) brought back their 10-week National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored program, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). It is entitled Research Experience for Student Veterans in Advanced Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship (REVAMP). The program is currently funded for summers 2019 – 2021. REVAMP was previously offered in summers 2014 – 2016 and has maintained demographics of at least 50% student veterans and more than 40% underrepresented minorities with STEM majors. REVAMP leverages the facilities, faculty, staff, and interdisciplinary environment of the GTMI, as well as the world-class entrepreneurial expertise of the GT Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), and the Advanced Technology Development Center.
Under the supervision of GT faculty mentors, a total of 10 REU students performed fundamental research projects this summer in several advanced manufacturing topic areas such as additive manufacturing, composite joining and repair, cell manufacturing, IoT sensor and network development, and integrated computational materials engineering, among others. Some of the major program activities included a seminar series on a broad array of manufacturing-related topics by GT faculty and graduate students, external manufacturing plant tours (e.g. Kia Motors, Hyundai Mobis, Lockheed Martin), experiential learning classes on the fundamentals of evidence-based entrepreneurship provided by VentureLab and ATDC, and three oral presentations delivered by students to demonstrate their research progress. In addition, as a new element of the 2019 program, a student veteran orientation as well as panel discussion and luncheon events were facilitated together with GTRI veteran faculty and the GT Veterans Resource Center director.
REVAMP is becoming the premier REU program in the nation for advanced manufacturing research and entrepreneurship training for undergraduate student veterans.