An engineer can`t be an engineer, without a sweet soldering works station. So, the talented engineers from our R&D department, otherwise known as the nerd lab, decided to support some aspiring engineers in the MPG program.
MPG started 13 years ago at the University of Calgary with the goal to get some practical skills in the hands of Electrical and Computer engineering students who were graduating without being able to use a soldering iron. It cruised along for a decade with around 50 students enjoying it every year, but suddenly exploded in 2010 as the full potential (and necessity) of the program was finally starting to be realized. Just three years later, MPG is running at six universities in Canada with a comprehensive program that extends over two years of a student's undergrad. It is also completely accessible outside of the university to anyone looking to gain skills in embedded systems hardware and programming. One of the best parts? MPG is open source and free. Participants only pay for the hardware they use. The technical side of MPG is what gets people interested, but that's barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of the program. The opportunities and great relationships that MPG continues to foster are what it's really all about. The program runs open houses, competitions, and even gives bursaries to students. The growing list of industry sponsors shows just how much MPG means to industry and community, and with close to 300 students participating this year alone, it's obvious that it means a lot to students, too. Check it out at www.engenuics.com/mpg
A few of our engineers have been involved for several years, but now we are sponsoring students to get involved and "solder stuff" and make circuit boards. Sounds boring, but it`s fundamental to making all things awesome.
Aside from volunteering the time of some R&D staff, we have also donated several student workstations to a number of universities in Canada running the program. As well as sponsoring the open house and a soldering competition. Seriously, such a thing exists. Keep in mind, without great soldering; there are no great circuit boards. The R&D guys would back me up.
Some helpful partners: