The South Georgia State College (SGSC) Foundation has been awarded a grant from the Sahm Family Foundation in the amount of $50,000 to fund the creation of the Sahm Family Foundation Mechanical Engineering Technology Innovation Center in support of SGSC's new Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology (BSMET) program.
SGSC President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers anticipates the Center as a highly valuable asset to the BSMET program's success. "The Sahm Family Foundation Mechanical Engineering Technology Innovation Center will be the hub of our program," she says. "It will support one of the primary goals for the program by providing an infrastructure where students can engage in activities related to real-world experiences and mentorship for success."
In the fall of 2021, SGSC welcomed the inaugural class into the BSMET program. Mechanical Engineering Technology is a practical field of engineering that combines engineering, physics and mathematics with materials science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems and apply them in a real-world context.
The Mechanical Engineering Technology program is different than the traditional engineering programs in that students will have exposure to and experience in applying engineering principles in practical, real-world settings. This means that students will be working closely with each other, faculty members and industry leaders to learn skills that will directly translate into what they will be doing in the workplace. The program is designed to give students a strong background in physics and math but still have exposure to critical hands-on lab activities that industry leaders are requiring their employees to have. In addition, students will be expected to work collaboratively with each other and be able to effectively communicate in both written and oral forms.
This program is designed with the goal of having students workforce ready when they leave SGSC with their BSMET degree. The Mechanical Engineering Technology program is rigorous; however, the faculty, industry leaders, and fellow students will be an integral part of the support system for students in the program and serve as mentors for students.
Through the Sahm Family Foundation grant, the college will be able to develop an Innovation Center for Mechanical Engineering Technology students primarily. The center will house facilities for enhancing collaborative activities such as academic group projects, externships and internships, student club projects, advisory board and guest speaker forums. The benefits will include an increase in student retention in the program compared to statewide norms and an increase of students going into local industries to work.
Elixir Extrusions provided a matching gift of $50,000 to the BSMET program for student scholarships. Mr. Philip Smith, president of Elixir Extrusion noted, "We are so thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to the BSMET program at South Georgia State College. I believe that any investment made in these students will be returned to this community in a great way. Every manufacturer will benefit from this program as well as the student. The Mechanical Engineering field is so vast, it caters to many interests of these young people. There is nothing better than applying the principals of engineering science and mathematics that they have seen on paper and in theory, to real world situations and experiences as they intern with local manufacturers. We are very excited about the future of our workforce and for SGSC."
Elixir Extrusions, operating out of Douglas, Ga., supply linear and fabricated aluminum components to a variety of markets, including construction, transportation, machinery and equipment, electrical, consumer durables, and recreational vehicles.
The Sahm Family Foundation was started by Roland Sahm, founder of Elixir Industries, and his wife, Ramona. It is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation devoted to the visual and performing arts, and welfare of children and seniors. The Sahm Family Foundation is led by Roland and Ramona's grandson, Christopher A. Sahm, who is continuing the family's legacy of philanthropy. He says, "My grandfather taught me that the best investment is in people, when you invest in people, they, in return, invest in you by doing extraordinary things. Surround yourself with extraordinary people and you will find extraordinary success." To date, the foundation has awarded nearly $10 million in grants to dozens of nonprofit organizations in San Diego and beyond.