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Catching up with Marie Planchard – Senior Director, Education and Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS Part 2

Don’t Miss Part 1

Recently, we had a chance to sit down with Marie Planchard (virtually of course) and get to know a bit more about her early years, education, being a woman in engineering and what brought her to work for SOLIDWORKS.

Anyone that spends time with Marie learns pretty quickly that she shares just as much passion for SOLIDWORKS as she does for education.

In the first part, Heather and Marie chatted about her background and education,the path that lead Marie to SOLIDWORKS and past SOLIDWORKS Worlds.

Read Part 1 here.

What attracted you to take on the role of Director of Education?

“Early on in my career, I had already been impressed with how easy it was for students to start learning and designing with SOLIDWORKS.

At the community college level, I had been awarded a STEM grant to help about 15 technical high schools update their technology offerings.

As part of this, I spent time working on programs that focused on women in technology and in non-traditional roles.

We were encouraging girls to come into the school to learn welding, CAD, and machining.

It was a great time to be working in engineering.

Not only were we seeing more women involved in engineering, the SOLIDWORKS user groups were expanding as well as the excitement and momentum around SOLIDWORKS was growing.”

“When SOLIDWORKS offered me the role as Director of Education, I knew I could take what I was seeing as an educator locally and bring my vision to the world.

My belief was that this new 3D technology and how things were being designed in SOLIDWORKS would change engineering education around the world.

During my interview for the position, I presented to a room of about 15 people – all marketing and executives.

When I shared my vision with the group, everyone agreed wholeheartedly.

As I started in this role, I focused on creating lessons and curriculum for the educator.

The existing tutorials were fine, but I wanted to deliver things with the mindset of the educator and what I knew they needed in order to teach effectively.

There has not been a day since that I have not enjoyed getting up and going to work.”

What is your vision for the future of SOLIDWORKS Education Community?   

“Just as I was at the start of the SOLIDWORKS CAD journey, where we all learned about an easy to use desktop application – we are now entering into the next phase and it’s just as exciting.

We have the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform which has introduced cloud applications to education. Hardware is changing and times are certainly changing right now.

The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is an easy-to-use cloud-based CAD tool for educators and will help them meet state and country teaching standards.

This application will help them to teach concepts of engineering, documentation, and manufacturing in a cloud environment.

As an educator I know it takes time for changes to be made, but I see the vision of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform and I know that students and educators will want to be up and running quickly with cloud design tools such as xDesign.

Over the next couple of years, I see a connection being made between cloud and desktop – not all cloud, not all desktop – but slowly a transition to using both.”

How do you feel that the current pandemic environment has had an impact on learning?

“Good timing on this question as I have been interviewing customers recently on just this!

The ability for educators to utilize the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform at home with their students on any device at any time has had a positive effect on teaching!

There is no excuse or reason to not be able to work; you can go online and can be connected at 1am.

You don’t have to be in the computer lab at school and you can share easily with classmates and peers. Students and educators are able to connect and do well together in this environment.

Where I wish technology would advance more with the pandemic is in territories like Africa, Asia and even in parts of the USA where the internet is not strong.

With that challenge, no matter if it’s streaming entertainment or learning/using CAD – we aren’t where we need to be with internet availability.

Over the last 8+ months, I applaud educators for keeping students going and changing how they are offering learning and study materials to students.

Creative ways to offer exercises – shifting and relying more on real-life industry examples or videos from various industries – it’s keeping students engaged and learning.”

How do you see the SOLIDWORKS Education team being involved in the upcoming virtual 3DEXPERIENCE World event in 2021?

“It’s going to be fantastic!

As of right now, we have more students and educators registered than ever before!

3DEXPERIENCE World takes place during school hours, so it’s a great opportunity for everyone to participate and not have to travel in order to take part in this virtual event.

I’m really excited and I believe it will be a great event – we are working plans to host a virtual career fair at 3DEXPERIENCE World.”

Marie – thank you for speaking with us and sharing your passion for engineering! 

See you at 3DEXPERIENCE World

We are excited to be attending and sponsoring 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021! 

Keep up to date with the latest information and registration details our events page.