Mines News

Release Date Friday, February 23, 2018

SD Mines Mechanical Engineers Partner with Stevens High School in Hands-On Education Program

Weston Shutts, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at SD Mines, assists Joseph Spray, a junior at Stevens High School on a machine inside the Stevens classroom.

RAPID CITY, SD (Feb 23, 2018) – Students and professors in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are partnering with Rapid City Stevens High School students in a new hands-on education effort to prepare the next generation of engineers and skilled technicians. The engineering and machining class lead by Stevens teacher Jason Reub is working with SD Mines students and professors to learn machining and mill working tools and techniques in a newly outfitted machine shop located at Stevens High School. 

Members of the press are invited to a media availability to see the students working with the new tools and view the class in action at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Stevens High School. Members of the media must check in at the school’s main office prior to joining the class. 

This new effort is tied to a revival of what was traditionally known as “shop class.” Many high schools stopped offering courses such as wood and metal working years ago amidst budget constraints. But today, a shortage in the skilled labor force has brought these courses back with a high-tech twist.    

Stevens students not only learn to use traditional hand tools, they also learn to use the equipment essential in modern manufacturing, such as 3D printers and computer-controlled laser cutting machines. Stevens recently acquired a new set of grinders, mills, drills and lathes that allow precision metal working – and SD Mines students and professors are lending a hand in training on these machines. Equipment like this is an integral part of the hands-on learning experience in the mechanical engineering department at SD Mines.  The department was recently ranked in the top ten mechanical engineering programs in the nation

“There is a demand for students who can problem solve; there is a demand for students who can design and build and fix things,” says Jason Reub. “I tell my students, college is a great idea, but so is any training beyond high school. Just don’t stop here, get an engineering degree or technical school degree that will land you an in-demand job.”      

For those like Aaron Lalley, Ph.D., instructor of mechanical engineering at Mines, this outreach is a win-win. Lalley says engineering students with an understanding of the concepts now taught at Stevens High School have a leg up. “The idea is vertical integration from high school education through new hire engineer,” says Lalley. “We work closely with industrial partners, primarily Caterpillar, Cargill and Nucor, to understand the needs they each have of new engineers. We also work with Stevens and other high schools to help them understand the demands of our curriculum and help them to develop programs that will better prepare the students.” 

SD Mines and Stevens High School students, teachers and professors are available for media interviews on Tuesday.



About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,529 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Charles Michael Ray, 605-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu

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