President Barack Obama highlighted innovation at Boise State during his remarks on campus Wednesday afternoon.
“Here at Boise State innovation is a culture that you’re building,” President Obama said. “And you’re also partnering with companies to do two things — you help students graduate with skills that employers are looking for, and you help employees pick up the skills they need to advance on the job … it’s contributing to the economic development of the city and the state, as well as being good for the students.”
Boise State was the President’s first stop after his State of the Union address this week. Before delivering his speech on campus, the President visited Boise State’s College of Engineering and the New Product Development Lab, a collaborative effort housed in engineering and managed by the College of Business and Economics.
Students and faculty showed the President how they 3D-printed a custom handle that a local student with developmental disabilities could use to access his locker without anyone’s help, and how Rekluse Motor Sports uses the lab to prototype parts for high-performance motorcycles. The lab works with local industries and entrepreneurs to design and prototype products and components and to help get them to the marketplace.
“The work you do here is one of the reasons why Boise is one of our top cities for tech startups,” Obama said.
He also highlighted the importance of work being done to encourage young women to pursue careers in math and science. He was introduced by Camille Eddy, a mechanical engineering major and undergraduate researcher who works in the Ceramic Micro Electro Mechanical Systems lab, another of Boise State’s high-tech, rapid prototyping areas.
“She’s a great example of why we’re encouraging more women and more minorities to study in high-paying fields that traditionally they haven’t always participated in — in math and science and engineering and technology,” President Obama said. “Camille has done research for NASA. She’s gotten real job experience with industry partners. She’s the leader of your Microgravity Team. And, by the way, she’s a sophomore.”
A recent example of the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades Boise State is the new College of Innovation and Design, which will leverage the speed, collaboration and risk-taking of a start-up to re-imagine the way we teach, learn and conduct research at Boise State. Teams of faculty will cross traditional disciplinary boundaries to create new degrees and certificates, paving ways to learning that are more in sync with employer requirements for the workforce of tomorrow.