Faculty Spotlight: David Antol

David Antol is imagining the future—and if he has his way, his students will as well.

As Coordinator for Applied Technology Programs, David’s focus is 3D Printing and Technology. Daily he asks his students to imagine where this technology can take them: what will it change, enable, or allow us to create in the next five, ten, or 15 years?

David views his class as an opportunity for students from all disciplines to gain exposure to technology, ultimately giving them a competitive advantage in tomorrow’s workforce. “Employers are continually looking for students who can think beyond what is and imagine what could be. It’s a shift in thinking—and in learning,” says David. He tells of a former Biology student who took his class anticipating a career involving bio-printing. The curiosity and skills she developed earned her an internship at APG, one usually awarded to engineers. “She was the only applicant with 3D experience,” said David. “It set her apart.”

On campus, David collaborates with faculty in Nursing, Biotechnology, Workforce Development, Engineering, and Business to provide their students with the knowledge, resources, and skills to extend the possibilities of what can be accomplished in their fields. “Think about it, business is changing. As manufacturing jobs are being eliminated, business models are changing. And our nursing students, for instance, will be on the front line of developments in bio-printing. It’s exciting!”

David’s innovative application of 3D printing technology extends beyond our campus. Recently he partnered with a former student on a historical building restoration project at the Walters Art Museum, a collaboration which resulted in a more efficient and accurate way for the Walters to restore original molding using 3D printing. Additionally, his work to secure a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is allowing him to develop dual enrollment pathways for high school students to earn a certificate in 3D printing. Local industry leaders are part of this also. They oversee capstone projects for these students and act as mentors during the research and execution phases.

Currently four HCPS teachers are taking David’s class. “What I teach them relates directly to what they teach their students. This technology is ‘the hook’ that draws them in. From there, the possibilities are endless. One day, everyone will be using this technology in their jobs. The question is, will we have prepared them to do it?” If David is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes!