Chicago Tech Academy Students Visit Questek for 2nd Annual Steam Day

Chicago Tech Academy Students Visit Questek for 2nd Annual Steam Day

QuesTek Innovations recently held its second annual STEAM Community Outreach Day, welcoming sophomores and juniors from Chicago Tech Academy High School for a hands-on materials science experience.

Located in Pilsen, Chicago Tech Academy High School (ChiTech) uses project-based learning, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education, real world experience with Chicago companies, and entrepreneurial principles to shape a diverse next generation of leaders and entrepreneurial thinkers.

This was the first time that many of the students visited Evanston and got an up-close look at materials engineering. The session included discussions on the nuts and bolts of materials science, advice related to studying and careers in engineering, and the following small group hands-on workshops in QuesTek’s in-house laboratory:

Arc Melting – Students witnessed a live demo of prototyping novel materials and learned about the time and cost-efficiencies associated with producing at small scale before making larger quantities of material.

Light Optical Microscope – Students observed the microstructures of different materials and how manufacturing processes such as casting, AM printing, forging, pressing, stamping and more affect these microstructures and subsequent properties.

Forging – Students watched lab personnel hot forge a metal sample, altering and strengthening the material’s microstructure. They learned that forging is one of the only ways to form a complex shape while simultaneously reducing the amount of material required and minimizing downstream machining requirements.

The ChiTech students also spoke with QuesTek Chief Financial Officer, Brian Registe about the business side of engineering, including insights on how to grow and develop a company, day-to-day operations, and long-term financial planning.

After spending the morning at QuesTek, students moved to Northwestern University’s Materials Research Center for the afternoon. ChiTech students toured materials engineering laboratories and explored analytic equipment for studying and characterizing materials. They also attended a panel discussion featuring graduate students from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.

“This was the most rewarding part to me, interacting with the students,” said Jeff Grabowski, QuesTek Manager of Business Development. “It was an informal forum, and the kids asked great questions, like, ‘When did you know that you wanted to study engineering or material science? What are you currently researching and why? What did you want to do when you graduated? What has been your biggest challenge?’ It was such a great portion of the day.”

“Many high school students don’t realize materials engineering is a growing field they can enter,” continued Grabowski. “Materials science has so many applications from manufacturing and consumer goods to the arts. We were able to provide a window into what working in this industry can entail.”

LaTrease Davenport, ChiTech’s Corporate Engagement and Volunteer Manager, described the impact of students visiting a company known for innovation like QuesTek.

“The arts is where all inventions start,” said Davenport. “Creativity is the basis of innovation, and I’m glad that the A for Arts is now included in STEAM. We’ve been incorporating it into our curriculum, and it’s something that our students gravitate towards.”

QuesTek also presented a donation of $2,000 to ChiTech that will be used for computers and supplies to support STEAM education.

For more information, please contact Severine Valdant, Chief Commercial Officer at

Chicago Tech Academy Students Visit Questek for 2nd Annual Steam Day-2

About QuesTek Innovations

QuesTek empowers innovators by resolving materials-based challenges.

QuesTek Innovations is both a pioneer and current market leader in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME). QuesTek’s Materials by Design® technologies are proven to reduce the development time and cost, and increase the performance of novel materials. In its market space, QuesTek is the first and only provider to execute the full cycle from novel design to production, certification, and flight operations with proprietary materials, in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional, or purely algorithmic methods.