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School receives $21K for engineering tool

LAWRENCEVILLE — Students enrolled in the engineering program at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology soon will have a new instructional tool thanks to a $21,000 gift from Nordson Corp.

The long-time supporter of the district’s charter school presented the donation to the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, according to a news release. The gift will allow GSMST to purchase a programmable personal fabricator, a computer-controlled tool that produces three-dimensional products by adding, removing and assembling atoms.

Equipment of this caliber is typically found in a fabricator laboratory at elite engineering universities. Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Neil Gershenfield has likened the fabricator to a machine capable of making a machine or a printer capable of producing a printer.

“Our students’ curiosity and imagination is continually nurtured as they watch their concepts, such as the design of a variable axis drive wheel, actualize,” GSMST principal Jeff Mathews said. “Students learn to collaborate with their team, making modifications along the way. Now, thanks to Nordson, they are able to see a relevant result of their efforts.”

Mathews said he is appreciative of the Nordson Corporation Foundation’s continued support and commitment to enriching the learning environment of GSMST students.

“Our school’s relationship with Nordson and our other partners produce a firm foundation of networking that our students will benefit from as they advance toward future jobs that do not yet exist,” he said.

The Nordson Corporation Foundation commits 5 percent of pretax domestic earnings for charitable purposes, according to a news release. In 2009, the Nordson Corporation Foundation gave a $21,200 grant for a video teleconferencing system at GSMST. Using this system, GSMST students are able to communicate and learn from and next to students from countries such as India and Mexico.

GSMST is home to 700 students from across the district and is located in a 200,000-square-foot state-of-the-art research facility in Lawrenceville. The school features five engineering labs, 14 science labs, two lecture halls and an emerging technology department similar to entrepreneurial incubator programs found at universities such as Georgia Tech and MIT.