Program Overview

Welcome to the NSF RET Site in Manufacturing Simulation and Automation at Penn State Behrend


* The Site provides cutting-edge research in manufacturing simulation and automation for high-school teachers and community college faculty from the Greater Erie area (covering counties in PA, NY, OH).

* RET participants spend six weeks working with the Behrend RET team, comprising of a group of faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, and industry mentors.

*Program activities include physical, computer, and virtual reality simulations of manufacturing paradigms (craft production, mass production, Lean manufacturing, mass customization, and global manufacturing) as well as automation (PLC and Robotics) and additive manufacturing.

* RET participants gain first-hand experience by participating in research activities to develop effective curriculum modules and engage their own students in authentic experiences in science and engineering.

* The RET program goals are to: 1) provide a STEM-based platform at Behrend to engage high school teachers and community college instructors in state-of-the-art manufacturing research, 2) explore a sustainable educational model that connects high schools, community colleges, university, and industry to instill future generations with greater awareness and interest in manufacturing, 3) facilitate the development of curricular modules, classroom activities, and other classroom instructional materials that will be implemented in the participating schools and colleges and also disseminated to a broader audience nationally, and 4) help fill the skills gap in U.S. manufacturing and prepare school and college students in the Erie metropolitan area for undergraduate studies and/or jobs in manufacturing.

* Snapshots from the Virtual Car Factory:

If you are a STEM high school teacher or community college instructor in the Greater Erie area and interested in our program, please contact the Site Director, Dr. Faisal Aqlan, at