Published: Jan. 23, 2015

Sharpening machine shop skills

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129, Patricia Mroczek College of Engineering office: (517) 432-1303

Women engineering students at Michigan State University will have the opportunity to sharpen their machine-shop skills at a special event designed to teach them the finer points of the drill press, band saw and lathe, among others.

The use of such equipment is quite common in engineering, particularly mechanical engineering. Unfortunately, many of the female students don’t have as much experience as the men when it comes to using these tools.

“Some female students are intimidated by the machine shop and the equipment in it,” said Tamara Reid Bush, mechanical engineering assistant professor who is providing a portion of the training. “Many of them have not previously used this type of equipment.”

The goal, said Reid Bush, “is to increase the confidence of women and their shop skills, something that should help in student retention down the road.”

She said there are four mechanical engineering courses with heavy design and build requirements.

“It’s not that women can’t do it,” said Laura Gumpper, a senior ME student who also will provide training. “It’s just many women haven’t had the opportunity to develop this skill yet.”

Gumpper also is the vice president of the Society of Women Engineers.

The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Mechanical Machine Shop, Room B250 in the MSU Engineering Building.


Tamara Reid Bush, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and student Laura Gumpper work in the machine shop in the MSU Engineering Building. The two will run a workshop Wednesday to teach female students how to operate the equipment in the shop. Photo courtesy of the MSU College of Engineering.

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