MARSP awards mini-grant to Susan Sturm

Students at work perfecting their techniques on the practice kits before building actual circuits. Pictured from left, front row: Jake Dulford of Norway; Justin Cescolini of Norway; Jacob Maxon of Iron Mountain; and Clara Irwin of Iron Mountain; second row: Adam Faull of Norway; Tommy Hulce of Norway; and Hunter Damske of Forest Park; third row: Marcus Wheeler of Kingsford; and Hunter Alder of Forest Park.

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Dickinson County chapter of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel (MARSP) recently awarded a mini-grant of $125 to Susan Sturm, mechatronics teacher at the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Technical Education Center.

Sturm used the mini-grant to purchase soldering kits for the 25 students in electrical and mechanical systems in industry. The kits are being used as a hands-on project while the students are learning about electrical circuits and components.

The Electrical and Mechanical Systems in Industry course is a new offering this year at the DIISD Technical Education Center.

It was created in response to local industry employment needs. Many are looking for entry-level with on-the-job training, technician level with one- or two-year certificates, and professional level with four-year engineering degrees.

The mechatronics course has learning opportunities in mechanical and electronic systems with hydraulics and pneumatic components, emphasizing local industry systems. The course is different from an electronics course in that the students are shown the whole system — not just how to wire a motor for a pump, but the pneumatic control valve that controls the flow, the bearings in the pump, and how the programmable logic controller works to electronically control the system.

There are many examples of mechatronics systems in many industries from the hydraulic presses to turbines for power generation. Any system with mechanical, electronic, hydraulic, and pneumatic components is a mechatronics system.

As these systems become more sophisticated, there is more demand for technicians and engineers that understand not only the operation of the component, but how it works in the system. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, Alexa, Google Home, etc. are all examples of mechatronic systems.

MARSP, an organization made up of retired school personnel is proud to be able to help out such new innovations in education. For more information concerning MARSP, contact Kris Bal at 906-282-0300 or check out our website at