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Bailey Hofland first State student to earn materials scholarship

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Brookings, S.D. (KELO AM) - Brookings resident Bailey Hofland has become the first student from South Dakota State University to earn a scholarship from the Materials Handling Education Foundation, which has been presenting the award since 1976.

The $5,000 national award is for the 2014-15 school year, when Hofland will be a senior.

A mechanical engineering major, Hofland has been working at 3M Brookings since the summer after her 2011 graduation from Brookings High School.

The first summer she worked on the production floor. The next summer she worked on the manufacturing floor and as the plant's dose mapper. Since then she has worked as an engineering intern helping to improve the manufacturing process.

That made her a good choice for the Material Handling Education award because the foundation's mission is to promote the study of material handling, logistics and the supply chain. 

Among the award sponsors is George Prest of Charlotte, N.C., chief executive officer of Material Handling Industry of America and founder of Prest Rack in Brookings. 

As an engineering intern, Hofland has been involved in several projects to improve the work flow. Among them is the improvement of a production status board, which is an Excel spreadsheet that allows operators, supervisors and managers to track output, downtime and attainment, she said. 

Hofland called it a "lean tool," which means it is designed to identify time- and product-wasting aspects of the manufacturing process. 

On the production status board, the number of boxes produced per hour are recorded and compared with the standard rate on an hourly and weekly basis, she said. Information is then shaded red or green depending on if the crew is behind or ahead of schedule, Hofland explained. 

Parents also at 3M 

She worked towards creating an updated board that can be used throughout the plant during her 2013 internship. This year she is continuing to make status boards for the hundreds of workstations at 3M Brookings.  

Other current projects include qualification testing for new medical products, various packaging optimization projects, and utilizing lean manufacturing processes to improve the work flow. 

Hofland first started as 3M as a result of company policy that allows children of 3M workers to get a spot on the production floor. Her father, Todd, a 1983 electrical engineering graduate from State, is in plant management. Her mother, Chaille, a 1990 computer science graduate from State, is in product service. 

Hofland could graduate from State in May 2015, but may stay an extra semester to earn a minor in computer science. 

Once she graduates, she would like to stay in the manufacturing field. "Working under a packaging engineer, I realized I wanted to stay in manufacturing engineering. We can do savings projects, and you can be more flexible with what you get to do, more hands-on," Hofland said.   

Awards also an honor for department 

She is the second mechanical engineering major from State to earn a national scholarship in as many years and the third in five years. 

Todd Letcher, a member of the SDSU Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty, noted, "We have had a strong ME academic program that has been producing excellent engineers for years. Our recently added research capabilities and success within our research programs have added another dimension to our department that is more visible outside the university." 

He said Hofland, who carries a 3.42 grade-point average, is a great example of a student who combines the theories of the classroom and the on-site experiences of an internship. "Bailey was a perfect candidate for this scholarship because of her excellent grades, work ethic and work experience at 3M," said Letcher, who nominated Hofland. 

He added that Hofland has agreed to be a peer mentor for mechanical engineering majors this school year. 

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