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Gen Z Won't Be The First Generation That Knows How to Fully Design for Additive Manufacturing

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Daniel Huang, an 18-year-old high school student in Florida, joined the latest episode of the Gen Z in Manufacturing podcast to discuss his experience in 3D printing and why STEM education is keeping Gen Z-aged students from becoming the first generation that knows how to fully design for additive manufacturing.

Huang is the creator of his high school’s 3D printing club that finished runner-up in SME’s 2023 Digital Manufacturing Challenge with their proposal to use 3D printing to create fully customizable pills for medical distribution. He has also done research at the University of Florida Materials Science Lab, worked at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility and was recently recognized by SME as a 2023 “30 Under 30” honoree.

Huang's plans after high school include pursuing a Bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering and hopes to use his expertise in cybersecurity to develop efficient security chips for mobile products. He also plans to incorporate 3D printing into his future line of work.

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According to Huang, educational exposure to 3D printing and STEM has increased, but not to the level that would set up Gen Z to be the first that can fully comprehend additive manufacturing design.

"At my school at least, we're just starting to see a shift into trying to increase STEM education," Huang said. "But it's very hard to find computer science classes or classes in design. I think that we're taking a step forward, but it's a little too slow for my generation to fully learn how to do things like that. In the future, maybe Generation Alpha will have the opportunity to take classes like this and they'll have the literacy that my generation doesn't have."

As he prepares for college and the workforce, Huang encourages manufacturing employers to promote creativity, freedom of expression and ideas. 

"Instead of just handing out job tasks, [have] group meetings for channeling ideas," Huang said. "I definitely think my generation values collaboration a lot more and being able to do things in their own way and to get their thoughts and ideas out."

Click here to view previous episodes of Gen Z in Manufacturing. If you are a member of Gen Z and would like to discuss your experience in the manufacturing industry, please get in touch with Nolan Beilstein, at [email protected].

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