The Mechanical Engineer’s New Dream for SolidWorks Education

Marie Max and Jerry Center Stage at SolidWorks World

My dream became a reality when I was center stage at SolidWorks World speaking with Max Lizarraga and Jerry Miranda from Mt Sac Community College, sharing their story with the SolidWorks community.  A story of providing students the best in SolidWorks skills, SolidWorks certification, interaction with the local SolidWorks Users Group and the SolidWorks community for jobs was my dream when I took the position at SolidWorks.

Thanks to a dedicated SolidWorks Education team, SolidWorks Certification team, user groups (, our commercial customers and dedicated educators, the SolidWorks community is preparing for the next generation of designers and engineers.

Thousands of educators share a similar, passionate story to Max and Jerry and have presented at SolidWorks World including Randall Bock, Penn State, John Edrington & Bryan Ray, Purdue University, Elise Moss, Laney College, Dan Podzimek, Global University, Dennis Lieu, UC Berkeley, and Dean Kerste, Monroe Community College.    Dedi Sadagori, Colorado School of Mines, ran our SolidWorks Teacher workshop on Sunday; he teaches SolidWorks to 600 students every semester.

Students-Educators-Certification-User Groups-Commercial Customers all interact as part of the SolidWorks community.

Little did I realize that the most provocative conversation was yet to come at SolidWorks World ….

Nine years ago, I never thought I would leave teaching design, dynamics, and calculus at Mass Bay Community College.  I loved teaching young engineers and developing a CAD program, based on my industry experience as a mechanical engineer.   I loved seeing what SolidWorks had done to my student’s confidence, and their job opportunities.   Mass Bay hosted the New England SolidWorks Users Group.  As a User Group leader, I encouraged my students to learn from commercial customers.

Thanks to a STEM grant and SolidWorks, I was able to reach out to young girls,  from elementary – high school, and show them great opportunities in engineering and science.   SolidWorks was a visualization game.  Girls had no issues learning SolidWorks skills.

I left school for a wonderful opportunity at SolidWorks, working with an amazing team of people.  I had a simple mission, take the Mass Bay example and help educators and students around the world.

Last week, as I walked across the long corridor of the convention center, I realized my mission and dream nine years ago was coming into reality.  But I was only half right.


I met longtime friend and professor, Sol Diamond, Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering, New Hampshire.   He left me with a provocative question.  Where are the women at SolidWorks World?

I stopped and looked around.  Sol was right.  Yes there are amazing women at SolidWorks, recently interviewed by my colleague Kim.   Sol has 50% women in his bio-medical and freshmen engineering courses.    He has set the bar.

When I attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute for my Masters in Mechanical Engineering, there was one female bathroom, next to the administrator’s office.  There was one other woman in my FEA classes but technically, she was a civil engineer.  WPI has made great strides to increase female enrollment in engineering, but in the US, the national average is 20%.  Studies show girls decide by 4th grade.

GoldieBlox at SolidWorks World

My new mission is to help and encourage our SolidWorks community to support girls to know what engineers do.  GoldieBlox is a great example of a toy/book that is changing society’s perspective on little girls as engineers.

Team Code Orange at SolidWorks World

The Team Code Orange and the Holy Cows FRC co-ed Robotics Teams offers me hope, as does  Kewaskum High School Women In Engineering program.

Kewaskum High School Women In Engineering

If you are a SolidWorks user, share your design knowledge with your daughter, niece or your neighborhood school.  I will be working hard this year to provide materials to help you. I have a new dream.   Marie

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard