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Using Guitar Manufacturing To Recruit Students Into Stem Disciplines

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Our Future in Manufacturing

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Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1339.1 - 13.1339.7



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Paper Authors

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Bradley Harriger Purdue University

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Mike Aikens Butler County Community College

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Mark French Purdue University

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Steve Shade Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Guitar Manufacturing to Recruit Students into STEM Disciplines Abstract

The challenge to recruit students into manufacturing engineering technology degree programs continues to be competitive and requires creativity and innovation. Creating an interest in STEM related programs has become the new frontier for many colleges and universities across the nation. The traditional recruitment approach of static websites and brochures fail to attract the interest of potential students. This approach must be adjusted to include the evolving interests of each new incoming generation of students; if it’s not animated, colorful, virtual, “cool” and most importantly part of their current world, capturing student interest is difficult at best.

This paper will address a planned summer workshop for high school students that will use the guitar to introduce the “fun” side of engineering and specifically manufacturing. The workshops build on experience from semester classes in stringed instrument manufacturing and from an adult summer workshop on guitar making. Additionally, details of the guitar workshop, funding and support from industry, professional societies, and state and federal agencies will be discussed.


A recently completed study by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD)1 presents the results of research to identify and analyze the root causes of occupational and skills shortages across Indiana’s 11 economic growth regions. Given the importance of manufacturing to Indiana’s economy (Figures 1 and 2) it is not surprising that manufacturing was included as one of the industries most affected in all of the identified root cause areas.

Figure 1: 2006 Indiana Gross State Product Figure 2: 2006 Indiana World Exports (x $106) (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis) (Source: Office of Trade and Industry Information)

Harriger, B., & Aikens, M., & French, M., & Shade, S. (2008, June), Using Guitar Manufacturing To Recruit Students Into Stem Disciplines Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3772

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