What do you do with decommissioned computer equipment? At L3 WESCAM, they funnel them to initiatives that support STEM (Science, Technology, engineering and Math) including Robotics Clubs and AI. For over 10 years, WESCAM has been donating to various educational institutions that can take the equipment and turn it into learning and magic for interested students. The process involves a team of volunteers who wipe the drives to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD 5220.22-M) standards, clean up the dust on the inside of the case, and deliver them to various schools that can take advantage of the equipment. Over the years, equipment has been donated to schools such as; Central High School Robotics Team in Burlington, Ontario, McMaster University Baja Racing Team – Hamilton, Ont, MM Robinson FIRST Robotics – Burlington, Ont, Niagara Catholic District School Board – Niagara, Ont, and Sir John A McDonald Secondary Hamilton. Some of the computers are often higher caliber workstations for running demanding CAD (Computer Aided Design) and FEA (Finite Element Analysis) that help kids get the most from their experience with professional equipment.The only thing WESCAM IT asks in return from the schools is to provide a picture of the equipment and students using them. It is a win-win program where schools are able to acquire higher-end equipment without impacting their very limited budgets for such purchases, usable equipment is diverted from premature landfill disposal, and supports local “Green” initiatives.
Some of the IT equipment donated from WESCAM are used in helping students (both High School and University) get access to professional-level computers which benefit the young minds growth in the field of STEM. The fact that kids have access to computers designed for CAD (Computer Aided Design) and FEA (Finite-Element Analysis) gives them a chance to design, review, analyse, create Bills of Material and edit to the same level as industry. Often, the software is discounted for students, but without access to a professional-level computer, students would have to wait for stress results or have to change settings to reduce the burden of complex designs (which results in issues being missed).
Engineering is the design of equipment for a particular task, is often iterative, and needs concurrent disciplines to see the product come together. The CAD stations allow for fully rendered 3D models and analysis to be evaluated by various groups helping students appreciate, at an early age, the true meaning of engineering.
“One of the Niagara District School Board priorities is to focus on STEM and they recognize that L3 WESCAM as an industry leader. They are preparing students for 21st Century careers. The donations have benefited thousands of the students through a shared computing model. The equipment is being leveraged for a 21st Century Skills Competition this year” NCDSB.
In addition, WESCAM is also a proud supporter of two local charities. Annually, an auction is held where employees can bid on a number of Desktop and Laptop computers, with the proceeds donated to of The United Way and Support the Troops. WESCAM can feel good knowing their donations are being used to help local people in need, and support programs that lack adequate Government funding. To date WESCAM IT has raised over $85,000 for these great causes.
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