An exterior view of the Wentz Science Center at North Central College.

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North Central College opens new advanced electronics lab with support from Molex

Sep 04, 2019

Cutting-edge lab will equip students for highly skilled electrical engineering careers

North Central College will mark the opening of its new Molex Advanced Electronics Lab with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event on Tuesday, September 10. The high tech lab, which will serve students in North Central’s undergraduate engineering programs, is a collaborative effort between the College and Molex, a leading provider of electronic solutions headquartered in neighboring Lisle, to prepare the next generation of electrical engineers.

The Molex Lab is the latest corporate partnership North Central has forged as it continues to expand its engineering program offerings, joining additional labs focused on design, automation and electronics. Starting with the 2018-2019 academic school year, the College introduced distinctive four-year bachelor of science degree programs in computer, mechanical and electrical engineering—unique offerings for a comprehensive liberal arts school of North Central’s size. Students have already begun reaping the benefits of the Molex Lab, which was operational in time for the start of fall semester classes.

“The Molex Advanced Electronics Lab is yet another example of how North Central College delivers on its promise to provide dynamic and integrated educational experiences for our students, setting them up for successful careers,” said North Central College President Troy D. Hammond. “Molex has long been a career destination for North Central graduates, and we’re thankful for their support in helping us prepare future electrical engineers on our campus.”

Professor Frank Harwath, President Troy Hammond and Molex CEO Joe Nelligan at the opening of the Molex Lab at North Central College.

Professor Frank Harwath, President Troy Hammond and Molex CEO Joe Nelligan

The Molex Lab, which includes 28 student work stations, will support the full spectrum of hands-on learning for engineering students, from the use of electronic test equipment, to advanced work with high speed signaling, EMC, power management and controls. Students will have access to cutting-edge equipment within the lab, which will enable them to work on high performance automation systems and robotics.

“We are thrilled to support North Central College in developing a unique learning experience for their students,” said Joe Nelligan, chief executive officer, Molex. “We expect our investment will give students opportunities for hands-on learning and exploration, and help them pursue their passion in engineering and technology.”

The Molex Advanced Electronics Lab is located in North Central’s state-of-the-art, 125,000-square-foot Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center, which opened its doors in 2017. The Wentz Science Center is among the top facilities in the Midwest for STEM education and includes 18 teaching labs, 16 research labs, 15 seminar/classrooms, a lecture hall and 53 faculty offices.

North Central College Professor Frank Harwath helps a student with an engineering project.

Frank Harwath assists one of his students.

“North Central College is ideally situated in a burgeoning tech and engineering corridor, which means our students are ideally positioned to benefit from partnerships with leading companies like Molex,” said Frank Harwath, professor of engineering and director of North Central’s engineering program, who spent more than 30 years in the industry including a nine-year stint at Molex. “Our students will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Molex engineers, and will be able to study emerging concepts like high speed electrical signaling.”

The Molex Advanced Electronics Lab will be used to offer a wide range of courses, including Introduction to Electrical Engineering; Digital Logic; Circuit Analysis; Microcontrollers; Electromechanics; Analog and Digital Signals; Motors and Actuators; Power Electronics; and Electronic Controls. To learn more about engineering at North Central, visit our pages on the computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and dual-degree engineering programs.

The Molex Advanced Electronics Lab ribbon-cutting event will be held Tuesday, September 10 at 4 p.m. in Judy G. Stevenson Hall on the second floor of the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center, 131 S. Loomis St., Naperville, Ill.