Technology Expo Gives Students Insight on Program

Susan Aksu

Tents filled with machines, scale models and mechanical devices transformed the area in front of the Milky Way CafÇ into a technology information fair from Dec. 3 through 5. Demonstrations in fields as diverse as welding, robotics, and computer-aided manufacturing gave students a glimpse into the courses offered by the technology and aviation division, which also includes the electronic engineering, manufacturing and architecture programs.

The electronic engineering program (EET) offers courses in engineering, test engineering, biomedical technology and utilities technology. The program was represented by David Valdez, a student in the EET program.

“This [electronic engineering] course is if you love or know anything about computers,” said Valdez. “You can learn how to solder, build boards, almost anything you could imagine with simple electronic stuff. That’s what this class is for.”

The manufacturing program gives a more technical perspective to creative activities in the classroom. In this course, students design prototypes on computer programs that are later entered in coded form into a 3-D printer. The printer prints out the prototype in a melted 3-D plastic form which looks almost like a plastic toy.
A prototype is a full-scale functional form of a design. Some of the 3-D prototypes displayed were of a wrench, race car and animation characters.

Since she is a an student studying animation, Lara Lee, who received her master’s in film and television from Chapman University, created an animation character prototype of a monster.

“My protoype is about four inches in length and two inches wide, and it took nine hours to make,” said Lee. A prototype could take from an hour to a day to make, depending on the size of the design.

The 3-D printer is used to convert raw materials into any design the artist chooses. A printer similar to the 3-D printer is the “Computer Cated Manufacturer.” It is one of the smaller machines set up for demonstration. The college owns five of the printers in total, which have the capabilities of creating outlines like bike frames. The machine functions the same as the 3-D printer, but is used to make objects out of metal or wood from tools to metal engravings just by generating a few codes.

The technology department has an internship program with a local manufacturer of high-end mountain bikes, Foes Racing. Through this relationship, students gain experience while Foes Racing supplies the college with raw materials and some products to use for fundraising.

Protoyping takes effort and money, according to Aram Ohanis, instructor in the Advanced Technology department.

“We do all their designing, programming and manufacturing of prototypes,” said Ohanis.

Foes donated a bike frame worth $2,000 to the department, which they are giving away as the prize of a raffle draw. Raffle tickets cost $3 each.

There is a high demand for manufacturers from local companies such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

“They recruit from us all of the time, but they’re having a hard time finding qualified people in the manufacturing world so were trying to bring awareness to our campus,” said Ohanis.

“I get calls daily from companies asking if we have students who could work for them, but I tell them that when I get another qualified person I’ll send them [to the companies],” said Ohanis. “These are good companies with good benefits and good programs which are even taking trainees now, but I don’t have that [trainees] at this point.”

Currently, only two GCC students are in JPL’s paid internship program. In order to gain admission into the internship program, they must be enrolled in the manufacturing program such as solid works computer aided courses, but mainly manufacturing.

Aside from manufacturing and electronics, the campus offers students the knowledge and experience to become architects. There are approximately 13 different classes offered with three different options so that students could receive certificates in residential, commercial drafting and design. The program gives students experience in using computer-aided manufacturing, using auto cad or manual drafting.

“Basically it teaches students how to develop a set of working drawing and how to design floor plans or site plan of a residential or commercial building,” said David Martin, instructor of architectural design

Students who go through the architectural program have several options upon completion of the program: transferring to Woodbury University, Cal Poly Pomona or Art Center. Other students who have earned their certificates go to work as a drafter, for an engineering company or an architecture firm.

Students interested in the architecture program are recommended to take Art 130 prior to taking Architecture 101. After Architecture 101, students could go on and take any architecture class.

Unlike the manufacturing department, the architecture program has plenty of students enrolled.

“I have 129 students so I’m happy with my enrollment,” said Martin. “But we want to keep the interest going.”

For more information on the program, visit the division Web site at