SOLIDWORKS Community Connects for STEM Learning and Student Success

Our SOLIDWORKS customers need employees educated in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills.  To prepare for future jobs, our schools need more students to select STEM fields.  Through the SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN), Richard Doyle, our user group guy,  connected Betty Baker, Product Engineer, Ashley Furniture, Arcadia, Wisconsin and James Adkins, Department Head, Computer Aided Drafting Technology,  Alamance Community College, Graham, North Carolina to promote STEM learning and STEM careers.

James arranged for area high school students and his own community college students to attend these STEM events. Betty gathered a team of Ashley Furniture engineers from Wisconsin to travel to North Carolina, located near the Ashley Furniture factory in Advance, NC.

With the help of the Wanek Education Foundation, Ashley Furniture sent a technical team from design, engineering, manufacturing and operations, supporting women in STEM fields.

The results included 9 STEM presentations at 5 different schools, touching 929 students.

Betty stated in a recent interview “This was so amazing!!!!  Without Richard’s help and being able to get to know James through the SolidWorks User Group Network, I would never have had this opportunity.  I keep saying that the SolidWorks community is like a family me to me and this experience just reaffirms that for me.  SolidWorks really is more than just a software, it really is a community and a family.  I could not be more proud right now that I am a part of this community.”

Both James and Betty continue to amaze me with their dedication to our community and to students.  James is a SOLIDWORKS Academic Provider, giving the Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate Exam (CSWA) to his students at Alamance CC.

Betty and Ashley Furniture employees continue their STEM outreach throughout the year with summer camp programs and engineering & design scholarships with the Wanek Education Foundation.

Betty is a mentor to a new FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, Team 7021 TC Robotics, made up of 5 different schools and home-schooled students in their community.  Team 7021 is part of the 7 River Coalition and will be competing in 2 FRC Regional events in Dulute, MN and La Crosse, MN.

Betty is the LA Crosse, Eau Claire, Winona Area (LEWA) SWUGN User Group Leader.  You can learn more about Betty’s STEM outreach at the SWUGN meeting at SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2018 February 4-8, 2018 in LA.

James is group leader and founder of the Burlington-Alamance County North Carolina SOLIDWORKS User Group (BACoN SWUG), as well as the founder of Southern VA SOLIDWORKS User Group (SoVA SWUG).

Anyone, designers, engineers, instructors, students can join a SOLIDWORKS Users Group – or start one.  More information can be found at  Qualified schools can become SOLIDWORKS Academic  Certification Providers.  Our customers need STEM students with job-ready SOLIDWORKS skills.

Thank you Betty and James for your dedication to our SOLIDWORKS Community and helping students learn about opportunities in STEM careers.  See you soon at SOLIDWORKS World!  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