Hitachi Brings Unique STEM Experience to WLAC Students
Through a collaboration with the Hitachi Inspire STEM Education Program, Omni Nano’s Introduction to Nanotechnology students at West Los Angeles College (WLAC) were able to add an important skill to their résumé: operating a scanning electron microscope (SEM). We’re so glad WLAC President, Dr. Jim Limbaugh, had a chance to stop by and see this one-of-a-kind collaboration with his own eyes!
Hitachi’s unique program provides community college students with access to portable SEMs, allowing educators to incorporate hands-on, project-based experiences for learning microscopy in the classroom. SEMs are standard instruments in many nanotechnology and other STEM laboratories, making this an immediately practical skill. However, without this program, most community college students would not have the opportunity to use such cutting-edge, sophisticated microscopy equipment.
The class learned about SEMs for several weeks in advance of this much anticipated lab. First, they remotely operated an SEM on the Penn State campus. Last week, they got to see some of the most advanced SEMs in person on the USC campus. Finally, they were able to utilize Hitachi’s portable SEM to prepare and image real samples of everyday objects.
The class enjoyed getting the full user experience: from preparing the samples, to loading them into the vacuum staging area, to acquiring images of the sample. Some student favorites include viewing metal powder and sand magnified up to 10,000 times.