Todd Dardanelli is a freshman at Asnuntuck Community College. Dardanelli is a Liberal Arts major but when he saw that Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing was a class he could enroll in to satisfy an elective he decided he would give it a try. He had participated in a welding class at Suffield High School but was interested in learning more about 3D printing and electronics. The course provided him with the overview he was looking for. “I liked it. It was interesting.”

Brand new this fall, the Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing course allows students to explore and survey the many opportunities available in ACC’s renowned Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. Many students who enrolled in the inaugural course were attracted to the offering because of the opportunity to rotate through machining, welding, and electronics. The team based, hands-on approach is something many of the students applauded as a plus as they learned about new concepts. 

Mike Zielinski is a machinist at Satellite Precision in Enfield. He took his first class at Asnuntuck in 2000.  After taking a break from school he said he was surprised and impressed when he returned for this class-his first night class- to see the growth, along with the addition of state of the art equipment. The student, who is pursuing an associate’s degree said he was encouraged to enroll in this class by his advisor. “The teachers are very knowledgeable. It was a good overview. It is a great beginning class,” said Zielinski.

Cheryl Turgeon, a Professor and Academic Liaison to Manufacturing, said that Asnuntuck is the first college in the Connecticut Community College system to offer this type of course. “Others in the system want to replicate it,” explained the faculty member, who said the college will be sharing their syllabus and course information with other state institutions.

Kevin Bergendahl, who is enrolled in Asnuntuck’s IST (Information Systems Technology) program, is expecting to graduate with his associate’s degree this spring.  He is a CNC Programmer Supervisor for MB Aerospace. He said his experience at Asnuntuck allowed him to explore a different side of manufacturing. “It’s a very nice shop.” He said it gives students an idea of what to expect when working with fabrication equipment in the real world.

Kayla Baez and Alessia Manzi are both students at Enrico Fermi High School. The students participated in the course as part of the free High School Partnership program offered at Asnuntuck. Students at area high schools are offered an opportunity to participate in the program if they meet academic requirements, they are juniors or seniors, and there is space available in the course the day the class starts. “I liked this one because you get to be active,” said Baez. She said she liked the 3D printing and the welding modules that were part of the class. She said she will enroll in another class in the spring and wished there was a part two of the course.

Turgeon said the students created a name plate in Solidworks that was cut on the center’s water-jet printer, learned about mechanical drives and had opportunities to do robotics. One exercise, according to Turgeon, involved students taking a computer apart and seeing who could put it back together first. The team of three female High School Partnership students came in first on that task.

Manzi, who is a member of the Buzz Robotics team at Fermi, said the course has allowed her to have a better understanding of how the team’s robot works. She said she helps build the robot used in competition. “I have never done anything with electronics.” That has now changed. “I definitely understand more about how it works.”

Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing will be offered again this spring on Mondays from 6 p.m.-8:55 p.m. Registration is open now and class size is limited.

Visit www.asnuntuck .edu for more information.