Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Replicating real-life scenarios within practice environments to prepare for life sciences careers

cadets and professor at a lab at an instrumentation and operations control lab at Mass Maritime Academy

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) is a top-ranked university in Buzzards Bay, MA. The Academy’s undergraduate programs prepare students for careers in the Maritime industry as well as Life Sciences, which a focus on engineering planning, design, and installation of technical equipment systems required for power generation and management. These systems assist in the distribution of electrical power and allow students to engage in all facets of energy engineering. 

The fast-growing Life Sciences industry in Massachusetts has a high-demand for graduates with technical problem-solving skills. Mass Maritime Academy and its engineering advisory board recognized the need to modernize their training to meet local needs. 

The Challenge

Modernize an Engineering Lab for Hands-On Training

Mass Maritime Academy’s undergraduate engineering curriculum needed an update. It provided traditional classroom training in fundamental instrumentation and operational controls. However, the Academy’s engineering advisory board—in recognition of emerging advancements in instrumentation and control technologies—recognized the need for modern, state-of-the-art instrumentation and control laboratory spaces and curricula.


Mass Maritime Academy provides rigorous academics and a hands-on approach to teaching graduates serving in the merchant marine, military services, and those who serve the interests of the Commonwealth, nation, and global marketplace.

Our Solution

An Enhanced Curriculum and Lab to Prepare Individuals for Work in the Life Sciences Industry

MMA selected Festo Didactic, a world-leading provider of learning solutions for technical education, to help modernize the lab. As the local reseller and education consultant, AET Labs collaborated with MMA and Festo to implement the project. 

“In consultation with the Academy’s Engineering Advisory board, which includes industry experts, Festo equipment was selected as it allows for precise training and practice on pressure, flow, level, and temperature process learning systems, while introducing students to a wide range of industrial processes that include instruments and control devices such as PLC plus control logics such as PID and On/Off,” explained Dr. Ashraf Omran, Associate Professor of Facilities Engineering at MMA.

MMA applied for a grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which they received. This allowed MMA to have their initial investment matched. Phase I for the Instrumentation, Operation and Controls (IOC) Engineering Laboratory included acquiring and installing a technologically advanced training platform to better guide students through the study of pump systems, temperature, pressure and flow controls. The upgrades supported three undergraduate engineering program facilities, equipment, and curriculum. The new training systems enhanced the existing Instrumentation and Operational Controls curriculum using state-of-the-art equipment. 

Equipment from Festo Didactic has provided MMA’s cadets with more effective hands-on training and equipped them with the practical skills needed to work successfully in plant and facility management, particularly those supporting the growing Life Sciences industry in the Boston area.

“The coursework is designed to help ambitious individuals develop the skills they need to enter the Life Sciences industry in a high-growth, high-demand occupation as quickly as possible.

We’re also proudly providing adult continuing education and professional workforce development programs as well as supplementing middle and high school career exploration programming. Sequoia (formerly 42 North Solutions), JLL, Janitronics, Suffolk, and Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals are some of the legacy Massachusetts Life Sciences organizations who consistently hire Academy interns and graduates,” Captain Elizabeth Simmons, Vice President for External Affairs at Massachusetts Maritime Academy added.

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Read the full case study on Festo Didactic’s website: Instrumentation and Operational Controls

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