Cynthia Jourgensen, CSWP, Speaker at SOLIDWORKS World 2017

“I love to be able to take a person’s dream and write it down in pictures for them to see. With SOLIDWORKS they can see all aspects of their design and have a video to show how to use it.  I have learned so much about the versatility and the expansive ability in creating all sorts of models in SOLIDWORKS. It truly is an amazing program.”

Cynthia Jourgensen is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) instructor. She also owns a contract business, at the San Francisco Bay Area in California, which she started in the year 2008 while learning SOLIDWORKS as a student, and continues to work with inventors with new product designs or inventions till date. She will be speaking at the SOLIDWORKS World 2017 conference in LA, on February 7 2017, where she will be presenting the methods she has developed to make education simpler and faster. A mother of 2, she paints, designs jewelry, works in stained glass, and basically loves creativity.

“I am a lifelong learner”, she says, “I have been in and out of school most of my life. My focus has been mostly in the vocational programs like Psychiatric Technology, and registered Nursing. Thinking I would become a doctor, I transferred from community college life into UC Berkeley to study Biochemistry as a pre-med major. This was during the time when plans were being made to map the human genome. It was an exciting time indeed, to be entering this field. However, life happened. I got married after getting my bachelors degree and began a family. When my children were in high school, I tried to go back into nursing and found that it would take a lot of re-training after being away from it for so long. I began to look at other options. I did some landscaping layouts for my yard and some interior space designs. I thought it would be easier if I could do this on a computer, and enrolled in the drafting program at Solano Community College in Fairfield, CA, in 2006.

It was the first time that I felt completely at home in an academic setting. I excelled at all my drafting classes and loved working in an environment creating whatever I could dream up. I credit my instructor, Karen Cook, for her inspiring way of teaching. She has a relaxed manner in the classroom that allows students to explore the possibilities of what can be modeled in the CAD environment. One of the classes I struggled with was the SOLIDWORKS 3D modeling class. It was an online course which I loved because I could go at my own pace, and explore ways to use SOLIDWORKS. 

Well, in the beginning I really struggled with trying to figure out where to start. It took me 15 hours to make a simple part such as a nut. One sketch and 3 features. I was only able to complete the model after I collaborated with some other students. Fortunately, I had figured out how to model a different problem and so we all benefited from each other’s learning. This was the moment, as I sat there in front of my computer, mystified with how to use SOLIDWORKS, that I decided that if I ever figured out how to create stuff in SOLIDWORKS, I would teach anyone who wanted to learn.”

This semester, Cynthia created a reverse engineered model of an apple peeler/corer kitchen appliance. She spent 6 months (more than 600 hours) working on it, when she also discovered how to create animation in SOLIDWORKS. “I was so captivated with the possibility of making movies of how things worked that I often had my kids come in and ask what’s for dinner? I had been working on my SOLIDWORKS project for over 12 hours and had lost track of time. We had pizza for dinner!” The finished project was submitted to the California State Fair, where Cynthia won the Best of Show award.

When asked about what inspired her to pursue a career in academia, she shares, “After graduating from Solano Community College, it was difficult to find a job due to the downturn in the economy in 2009-2010. So I took on a 2D CAD job just to get drafting experience. I also enrolled in graduate school to get a Master’s in Education with a focus on Instructional Technology. I had a dream and a promise to keep. I was going to teach SOLIDWORKS!”

She continues, “The first step was to get certified in SOLIDWORKS. So, thinking I knew a lot about modeling in SOLIDWORKS, I took the test and scored 20 points.”

This was a reality check for Cynthia, and she realized she needed to learn more about CAD modelling. She continued to research, practice and learn a lot more than she had expected. “One concept that mystified me was the Design Intent of a model. It took me several years before I clearly understood what Design Intent was and how to apply that to a model. It is such an important concept that I started to introduce it from day one in my classes”, she tells us.

In 2012, Cynthia was hired at the Solano Community College to teach SOLIDWORKS in the Spring of 2013. She recalls, “It was a struggle at first, trying to figure out how to teach students the vast amount of information about how to model in SOLIDWORKS in just 18 weeks. During this process of learning I discovered that our school could become a SOLIDWORKS testing site, and that the students could take the exam for free. I saw how important this one benefit of our SOLIDWORKS Educational Subscription was, and its potential to unlock employment opportunities at higher salaries for our students.”

It has been quite a process in achieving an average 85% success rate of their students clearing the CSWA with 16 weeks of training. A lot of research, time and effort has been put in to refine the pedagogy, and the struggle she exclaims with excitement, “is so worth it when I see our students getting employed in quality jobs right here in Solano County.”

Cynthia visualizes a future where the current rapid learning method can be translated into the business learning sector. “Many sectors of industry use SOLIDWORKS, but from what I have seen, the biggest impediment to full productivity in those businesses is having a workforce trained in not just how to make a part but how to make a part with design intent. Modeling with design intent from the conception of a part will save hours of time when a model needs to be revised or updated”. She continues, “Another aspect to focus on is when there is a changeover in staff and that means new employees will need to get up to speed quickly in order to maintain profitable productivity. This is an exciting challenge that just may revolutionize how education and business collaborate to create a new level of productivity in the manufacturing industry.”

Cynthia will be presenting her methods at SOLIDWORKS World 2017, where she would go into the details of concepts covered, sequence of topics, sample assignments, design intent, the importance of drawing analysis, configurations, and more, at the SOLIDWORKS training program at her school. She would further talk about how a school can become a SOLIDWORKS testing site, and share links and resources to many sites relating to teaching SOLIDWORKS. Find the conference agenda here.

“There truly is nothing like living your dream and helping others to live theirs. Hope to see you all in Los Angeles at SolidWorks World 2017!” – Cynthia

Thank you Cynthia for sharing your story with the SOLIDWORKS Community! We wish you all the best as you continue along your path to refining teaching methods, and sharing your knowledge with the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Aanchal Singh

I am currently an intern at SOLIDWORKS, and an MBA student at Boston University's Questrom School of Business. I love travelling and distance running.