MIMIC reinvents for fair

Drew Farrell and Elisabeth Farrell

MIMIC, an award-winning IVCC program established in 1995, stands for “Making Industry Meaningful in College.” The goal of the organization is to recreate—that is, mimic—real-world situations for students going into STEM-based fields.

MIMIC is not a club, but a computer-aided design (CAD) class. From the fall until spring, students work to market, sell, and design their own products to be sold to the public at the annual fair.

Since its creation, MIMIC has undergone many changes and challenges, but its goal has always remained the same—preparing STEM students for a career in the modern science industry. To achieve that, different classes have partnered with the program over the years.

For example, psychology students once worked with the MIMIC class to provide insight on the public’s mental processes.

One year, the MIMIC, art, English, and theater departments worked in tandem to create a play production. MIMIC developed a portable stage for IVCC actors to perform with. The play, a puppet show, was written by the English students, and art classes designed the scenes and props.

“They [the students] learn to work with people who don’t think the same as you,” explained Dorene Data, the MIMIC instructor, who was part of the team that thought of the original idea. “It helps them to get out of that ‘box,’ and see what it takes to form a company in all aspects.”

In the past, the CAD program would often work with accounting and marketing classes. The students would team up together to learn how to budget, develop, advertise, and design useful and aesthetically pleasing products.

This year, however, the MIMIC class worked on their own.

“We reinvent ourselves each year,” said Data, when asked about how the change might affect the organization. “Whatever the year brought, we adapted.”

Data encourages all students interested in STEM to consider taking the MIMIC class.

“It’s such a wide open field,” she said. “There are so many well-paying jobs out there, and they aren’t going away. It’s such an exciting field with so many opportunities.”

Many MIMIC students are pursuing a future in engineering, computer design, and manufacturing. In fact, about two-thirds of Data’s class are interns for local tech companies.

Students Jacob Smith and Max Walker plan to work in technology after their graduation. Smith stated that he enjoys the opportunity of creating projects.

Robert Matthews, who currently has an internship with James Hardie Industries, nearly sold out of his “Screaming Wedgie” products at the fair. He too seeks a career in tech design.

“I wanted to make something unique and useful for everybody to use,” said Nini Hoang in reference to her MIMIC fair merchandise, the “Travel Desk.” Hoang plans to transfer to Northern Illinois University after IVCC, then work for Nucor as a retailer.

Aaron Kerner, who is hopeful for a future in architecture, spoke on his time in the organization.

“MIMIC is a great class for a student to take if you are planning on going out into industrial design. The class helps understand that products need to be redesigned constantly to adapt new ideas and fix problems caused by design. It also helps by understanding that not everyone will buy your product, and certain groups of people will be interested in the product while others would have no need. It really makes a student think about the consumer when in the design process,” said Kerner.