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GVSU hosts Americas Competitiveness Exchange delegation

May 09, 2024

GVSU hosts Americas Competitiveness Exchange delegation

Grand Valley hosted the Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE), a delegation of economic development leaders from around the globe, at the Shape Corp. Innovation Design Center (IDC) on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus Wednesday.

The event was part of a series of stops for ACE in Michigan with other locations including Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Lansing.

After the delegation received a tour of the IDC building and viewed a demonstration of a robot created by Hopkins High School students, President Philomena V. Mantella gave her opening remarks to the group of over 50 ACE delegates.

An engineering and computing panel followed Mantella’s opening statement. The panel featured Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering, Jonathan Engelsma, professor of computing and director of GVSU’s Applied Computing Institute, and Marouane Kessentini, the first appointed dean of GVSU’s newly-formed College of Computing.

The panel discussed the importance of applied research and experiential learning through cooperative education and internships.

“The cooperative education program means that the students do three semesters of work experience,” said Plotkowski. “That experience lays the groundwork for our senior project programs that are deliverable due to products, automation and the list goes on.”

The panel highlighted how this model prepares students for careers with applicable experience sooner than the norm. Engelsma noted students are starting their internships as early as sophomore year instead of what he noticed was the more typical final semester of senior year.

Glendon Ashby, an ACE delegate from Barbados, described building this connection between industry and university as innovative. He said the model can be used to solve problems while expanding opportunities to those who are still gaining experience.

“It just goes to show that when people collaborate what can happen,” said Ashby. “We can bring all the players to the table to ensure that they are making a better pathway to the future.”

Written by Thomas Chavez.

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Page last modified May 9, 2024