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Bright Minds Mentor Program at RAPID

In 2004, members of the Education & Information Exchange Tech Group, which is part of SME's Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community, developed the Bright Minds Mentoring Program. This customized program takes place during SME's annual RAPID Conference & Exposition, and local schools are invited to participate.

The goal of this program is to create interest, excitement and an appreciation for product development methods, rapid technologies and applications among high school students. Fifty (50) students are paired with industry professional mentors who guide them through the conference and exposition hall. Students are allocated a portion of time to pair off with each other to experience the sessions and exhibits with industry mentors. To enhance their participation, students are provided industry-related materials, parts and scholarship information. Students are encouraged to share what they have learned with their fellow students and teachers.

Schools interested in participating in this program, please email

Bright Minds Photos

Objectives of the Program
  • Bright Minds LogoIntroduce students to the additive manufacturing industry as a prospective career pursuit.
  • Provide a basic, high-level overview of advanced design and manufacturing technologies, materials, processes and applications.
  • Allow students to learn about how and why the technology is used along with examples of interesting applications.
  • Provide students the opportunity to ask questions and interact with an industry mentor while allowing them to attend RAPID.
  • Encourage and inspire students to share what they have learned with fellow classmates and teachers.
  • Have fun!
What Students Will Experience
  • What is additive manufacturing?
  • How and why is it used? (Simple parts versus complex, big versus small.)
  • What are examples of how it is used to develop products and other unique applications?
  • What are some of the major machine types and materials used?
  • What is the difference between additive versus subtractive manufacturing?
  • What is the difference between equipment OEMs and service bureaus?
  • What types of R&D are under way and what does the future hold?
  • How companies use additive manufacturing in a variety of different industries for unique applications:  
  • General product design and development.
  • Consumer products such as cell phones, computers and sports equipment.
  • Automotive and aerospace.
  • Medical and dental.
  • Jewelry and art.
  • Emerging applications such as a architectural modeling and miniature devices.
Student Benefits
  • Gain hands-on experience with product development models and the processes for making physical prototypes.
  • Obtain a basic understanding of the industry.
  • Hear about career options.
  • Realize a different view of manufacturing — it's not all smoke stacks and loud machinery.
  • Become excited to see additive manufacturing as an option.
  • Focus on product development (using software to develop the concept and then building the prototype).
  • Understand what engineers can do.
  • See how additive manufacturing impacts many different areas.
  • Learn how things we use every day are developed and built.
  • Manufacturing technology can be fun and cool!
Benefits to Mentors
  • Sharing their knowledge.
  • Impacting the future of the technology.
  • Influencing one or two future users/buyers.
  • Demonstrating industry knowledge and leadership.