Western Pennsylvania Chapter - Educational Outreach

Advancing the Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing

Lesker University moves to the West Mifflin Area High School for a half day Vacuum Technology event

As part of the Western PA’s chapter of the American Vacuum Society (WPAVS) outreach and educational efforts, two teachers from West Mifflin Area High School (WMAHS) were flown to our annual meeting in Longbeach, CA for two days of training on vacuum technology.  The recent graduates, Michael Miller and Jaclyn Tonini, both teachers at WMAHS, were also awarded a basic vacuum system to use in their science classes for hands-on demonstrations.


Science teaching Michael Miller grows some giant marshmallows in his vacuum chamber


On Tuesday, March 5, 2019 representatives from the Kurt J. Lesker Company traveled to West Mifflin to work with newly trained vacuum technologists, Miller and Tonini, to provide an introduction to vacuum technology and our outlook on emerging technologies and the economy.  Our Joe DeMaio arranged the event, assisted by Don Steggert and J.R. Gaines.  Doughnuts were had by (almost) all and while Joe and Don did bring some Peeps to expand in the vacuum chamber they were turned away by Miller who claimed to confection was ‘too dirty’ for his vacuum system. 

The group taught 4 classes (in a row!) and worked with Mr. Miller to present combined lecture and demonstrations sessions to the 10th grade honors chemistry class, two of the 11th grade honors physics classes, and the College Chemistry for High School Students class.


Our J.R. Gaines delivers an introduction to vacuum technology as well as an economic
assessment of the vacuum industry


The classes were attended by a variety of student types with a blend of people that are college bound and those studying critical trades like welding.  There was a lot of interested expressed by the students in the Lesker Company.  Teachers and students were invited to a future event to be held at the Kurt J. Lesker Company, Jefferson Hills facility.  As part of the American Vacuum Society’s commitment to education at least one local teacher will be sent off to the national meeting to receive two days of vacuum technology training.  The AVS also donates a basic vacuum system to the teacher’s school.  The local chapter invites any Kurt J. Lesker Company employee to recommend a science teacher for this important and no cost enhancement to local science programs.