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Bridging Education with Tomorrow's Careers:

Cougar Pop-up Club Explores Photonic-CON


Community School Collaborative (CSC) recently sparked a wave of excitement among middle schoolers through the Cougar Pop-up Club's journey to Photonic-CON - a gateway to tech careers that these students might not have considered, an opportunity to bridge the gap between curiosity and real-world applications.


Throughout the school year, CSC hosts Pop-up Clubs, allowing students to self-select to attend and explore their career interests further. October’s Pop-up Club recruited students interested in technology and manufacturing for Gallatin College’s 2nd Annual Photonic-CON.

Students from Sleeping Giant Middle School maneuvered through a maze of booths, each offering a unique insight into different facets of technology.


At the Aurora driverless car station, students witnessed the future of transportation unfolding before their eyes. They engaged with the technology behind self-driving cars, understanding the intricate balance of software, hardware, and data that propels these vehicles into the future.


Teledyne FLIR emerged as a highlight, demonstrating technologies that enhance perception and awareness. The students delved into the world of thermal imaging, explored visible-light imaging systems, and even interacted with advanced threat detection systems. The once-abstract concepts became tangible, revealing the real-world impact of innovative sensing solutions.


Spark R&D, a Bozeman-based company committed to pushing innovation in splitboarding, opened a door to the recreational side of technology. Students discovered that technology isn't confined to offices and labs; it's about pushing boundaries in leisure and adventure too.

The Bridger Aerospace station brought the technology closer to home. Students stepped outside to explore a firefighting command truck and drones, witnessing firsthand the application of technology in aerial firefighting. The experience showcased the pivotal role of technology in ensuring public safety.


Post-Photoni-CON, Park County can anticipate a new cohort of innovative thinkers, tech enthusiasts, and perhaps, future pioneers of photonics.

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