← Utah CTE Blog Home

Archive for the ‘Technology and Engineering Education’ Category

Are you interested in engineering?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Would you describe yourself as inquisitive, systematic, and observant? Are you good at using math, applying physics to solve problems, and figuring out how things work? Do you like to conduct experiments, learn about technology, and find answers to technical questions? If you answered yes, then a career in engineering may interest you.

There are many types of engineers, including agricultural, biomedical, environmental, petroleum, and structural. Engineers are problem solvers and solve the world’s most challenging problems. Did you know that:

  • An agricultural engineer developed the nutrient-rich foods you eat?
  • A biomedical engineer designed the hip replacement used in a person you may know?
  • An environmental engineer developed the recycling methods used to prevent damage to the earth?
  • A petroleum engineer developed the gasoline to power your car?
  • A structural engineer designed your high school to be earthquake proof?

Nationally, engineering is the second largest of all professions. In Utah, it is one of the fastest-growing industries, having a projected growth rate of 1.9 percent through the year 2020, creating 16,670 jobs. Engineers make an average annual income of $75,000 and the unemployment rate for engineers is 4 percent lower than the national rate.

Students who participate in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Technology and Engineering Education Pathway obtain the academic knowledge, technical skills, hands-on training and experience needed to be successful in a career in engineering.

“The CTE classes I have taken in high school have helped me find the path I want to take. . .My engineering teacher taught me a lot about what I need to know, he has taught me how to program microchips, build robots, and how to [operate] computer programs,” says Leighton Fautin, a graduate of Wasatch High School and future engineer.

Talk to your school counselor about participating in and successfully completing one of the Technology and Engineering Education Pathways—Pre Engineering Pathway or Project Lead the Way Pathway.

Technology and Engineering Education: Hands-on, Minds on Education

Why Engineering? Ten Great Reasons

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The field of engineering continues to reinvent itself. The variety of engineering specialties not only has engineers designing bridges and automobiles, but creating video games; developing complex computer programs and software,  artificial organs, and nuclear power sources; and designing children’s toys, pet products, household products, sports equipment, and sustainable and efficient urban infrastructure.

Due to the expansion of jobs in the technical fields and the increasing number of engineers who are retiring, job openings in technology and engineering continues to increase.

Below are “Ten Great Reasons1” to pursue a career in engineering:

  1. Love your work, AND live your life too! Engineering is an exciting profession.
  2. Be creative. Engineering is a great outlet for the imagination—the perfect field for independent thinkers.
  3. Work with great people. Engineering takes teamwork and working with all kinds of people inside and outside the field, such as designers, architects, doctors or entrepreneurs.
  4. Solve problems—design things that matter. Come up with solutions no one else has thought of. Make your mark on the world.
  5. Never be bored. Creative problem solving will take you into uncharted territory, and the ideas of your colleagues will expose you to different ways of thinking.
  6. Make a big salary. Engineers not only earn lots of respect, but they are highly paid.
  7. Enjoy job flexibility. An engineering degree offers you lots of freedom in finding your dream job. It can be a launching pad for jobs in business, design, medicine, law, and government.
  8. Travel. Field work is a big part of engineering that will take you to many places.
  9. Make a difference. Everywhere you look you will see examples of engineering having a positive effect on everyday life. Cars are safer, sound systems deliver better acoustics, medical tests are more accurate, and computers and cell phones are a lot more fun!
  10. Change the world. Imagine what the world would be like without engineers. In very real concrete ways engineers save lives, prevent disease, reduce poverty, and protect our planet.
    1 engineeryourlife.org

Nationally, engineering is the second largest of all professions. In Utah, biomedical engineers (10.5 percent), petroleum engineers (3.8 percent), and civil engineers (3.5 percent) have the highest projected growth rate through the year 2020.

Training and education beyond high school are important for success in a career in engineering. Whether you choose a one-year certificate, a two-year associate or technical degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, or an advanced degree will depend on your career path.

Talk to your school counselor about registering for an engineering class and preparing for a career in engineering. Visit UtahCTE.org to learn about the Career and Technical Education Technology and Engineering Pathways.

The Road to Success

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Recently, student members of the Technology Student Association (TSA) met in Nashville, Tennessee to compete in 60 technology based competitions and participate in leadership sessions at the National Leadership Conference. Approximately 4,500 student members and chapter advisors from across the country attended the competition and conference. TSA members prepared throughout the year to compete in the events, based on principles and concepts learned through hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects.

The theme of the conference was “The Road to Success.” The conference kicked off with a keynote address given by Katy Galambos, former national TSA president, Yale graduate, who currently works for Google. Katy encouraged students to work hard and that anything is possible.

The 60 competitive events included Agriculture and Biotechnology Design, Design Technology, Construction Renovation, Video Game Design, Dragster Design, Engineering Design, Flight Endurance, Music Production, and Structural Engineering. More than 100 TSA VEX teams participated in this year’s championship.

Utah TSA student members participated in the 60 technology based competitions, with 32 students placing in the top ten in 18 different events. This year’s TSA conference champion in the VEX Robotics competition was Syracuse High School. Syracuse High School continues to excel in the robotic competition. This is Syracuse High second year in a row to take the conference champion trophy.

At the conference two chapter advisors were recognized for their dedicated efforts as TSA advisors in their chapters. Joseph Black, TSA advisor at Lehi Jr. High, was named the TSA Middle School Advisor of the Year and Timothy Feltner, TSA advisor at Layton High School, was named the TSA High School Advisor of the Year. “Both of these advisors work hard to make their chapters successful. We are grateful for their hard work,” says Mike Smoot, TSA state advisor.

TSA is the only student organization dedicated exclusively to students enrolled in Technology and Engineering classes in grades 7-12. TSA fosters personal growth, leadership training, career development, teamwork, community service, competitive events, and student recognition. Students learn problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking skills as they relate to communications, power, energy, transportation, engineering, manufacturing, construction and biotechnology. There are over 180,000 TSA members nationwide in 48 states. Utah has over 3,000 members in 42 chapters. Learn more about TSA at http://www.tsaweb.org/ and http://www.utahtsa.org/.

Brayden Weir: Future Mechanical Engineer

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Brayden Weir
Occupational Goal: Mechanical Engineer

“The CTE courses I took in high school prepared me in a number of ways for the career path I’ve chosen to take. I knew I wanted to do something where I could build and design things based upon all of the woodworking/construction classes I’ve taken. Then after taking biotechnology, along with other math and science classes, I knew that I wanted to go into something science based, where I could design and maybe build some things. What better field to go into than engineering? It was the obvious choice, and it turns out that I really enjoy it. That alone may be the single most important part about a career field, because if you don’t enjoy what you do, how can you do it for the rest of your life? The simplest answer is that you can’t, it just doesn’t work. Through the experiences and the fun I’ve had in my various CTE courses I know that engineering is the path I need to take.” —Brayden Weir, Murray High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Brayden on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Salt Lake Community College. Brayden was one of 95 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.


Left:Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Brayden Weir
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology

Robot Grand Challenge

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, twenty-five high school robotics teams will compete in the Fourth Annual Robot Grand Challenge at Utah Valley University (UVU) in the UCCU Event Center. Teams across Utah were provided Lego® Mindstorms® NXT robot kits and on Tuesday will build the grand robot for this competition.


Who: High school students
What: Robot Grand Challenge
Where: Utah Valley University
When: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Events: http://www.uvu.edu/tc/techexpo/events.html
Schedule: http://www.uvu.edu/tc/techexpo/schedule.html
Skills Challenges: http://www.uvu.edu/tc/techexpo/skillschallenges/index.html

Five years ago, the UVU Department of Electrical Automation and Robotic Technology (EART) received a grant to promote robotics in high schools. Each high school in the Mountainland Region was given Lego® Mindstorms® NXT robotic equipment, along with teacher training to integrate robotics into their curriculum. These robotic kits were placed in a variety of courses: Engineering Design, Computer Programming, Physics, and Electronics. Each year, teacher training and a statewide robotics competition have been provided by UVU.

“Student interest in robotics has increased exponentially over the past four years. There are now robotics clubs throughout Utah. Robotics curriculum is being taught in elementary, junior high, and high school; with 13 high schools teaching full courses in robotics. Nine of these schools are in the Mountainland region,” said Darrell Andelin, Technology and Engineering Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

This year the following robotic competitions took place in Utah:

  • Utah State University sponsored several regional VEX robotics competitions with over 50 teams competing. WATCH

  • The Utah First Lego® League held qualifying competitions in nine locations in January, with the State Championship being held at the University of Utah Student Center on January 28, 2012. In all, 150 teams competed in First Lego® League.
  • The University of Utah also sponsored the First Robotics Regional Competition on March 15-17, 2012 at the Maverik Center, with 43 teams from six states.
  • On April 9, 2012, the Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus was the site of the annual First Robotics regional competition. Thirty-one teams from 300 high schools competed. WATCH

“In Utah we have some of the best VEX robots in the world, said Gary Stewardson, Associate Professor at the School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education at Utah State University.

Utah has five teams ranked in the top 30 in the world in programming skills.
VEX World Skills Ranking: Programming Skills

World Ranking

Team No.

Team Name

High School



Raptor Robotics





Mountain Crest



Davis High 1





Mountain Crest




Mountain Crest

Utah has one team ranked in the top 30 in the world in robot skills.
VEX World Skills Ranking: Robot Skills

World Ranking

Team No.

Team Name

High School



Team Titan


“This is incredible considering there are over 4,400 VEX teams registered worldwide this year. I have been told [Utah has] the fastest growing region in the country and more competitive regional VEX robotic competitions per number of robots in the world,” said Stewardson.

Plan now to attend the Robot Grand Challenge on Tuesday, May 1 at Utah Valley University. High schools that were not selected for this year’s competition are welcome to attend the event.

To learn about the Technology and Engineering program in your school contact your school counselor or visit UtahCTE.org.

Meet a Chemical Engineer: Stephen Grobstein

Thursday, February 16th, 2012


Introducing… Stephen Richard Max Grobstein

A graduate of … Skyline High School

Now working as … Process/Chemical Engineer, working in Research and Development as part of a team that takes brand-name drugs and reformulates them to produce acceptable generic counterparts that can be sent off for clinical trials.

Employer … Watson Laboratories

Check out this website … http://www.watson.com

Chemistry, math, and history were his favorite courses in high school.

Stephen’s first job … was grocery bagger.

The worst job?  Grocery bagger, was also his worst job. He says, “I hated the winter months, dragging carts through the snow. Taking out the garbage was the smelliest thing I have ever had to do…” (Of particular note since he’s a chemist!)

Most significant training/education beyond high school was earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.

A Career Highlight … Stephen admits that he prefers “being in charge of people,” and – apparently – he is good at it, since he has achieved a management role in every job he has held so far.

Advice to students: Pick your favorite subject in school and find a related career. “Nothing is more important than enjoying what you do for a living…”

PLTW: A Bridge to Join an Educated and Qualified Workforce

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

By Jerry Nelson, Technology and Engineering teacher at Two Rivers High School

We live in a fast paced world with various challenges. This requires unique and innovative solutions for both the workforce and the businesses they strive to serve. In education we need to understand and mitigate as many of the challenges as possible. Whether we strive to make people “college ready” or “job ready” our challenge is daunting. Project Lead the Way is a pre-engineering program that provides us a bridge to join an educated and qualified workforce with a great business by bringing them together at an early stage with good business skills and a quality education.

My educational philosophy has always been “You can dig a ditch with an education or without an education, but to get out of the ditch you need an education.” Project Lead the Way provides a way out of the ditch.

Project Lead the Way teaches students how to learn, how to solve problems and how to communicate results. If we need students to unlock the future we need to provide them with the right keys. This is a great program and I am proud to be a part of it.

Project Lead the Way: Igniting imagination and innovation through learning!

Engineering Students Are Awesome!

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

By Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher at Two Rivers High School

Project Lead the Way pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems. Students who take these classes greatly enhance their abilities to apply mathematics, to work in teams, to create and test their designs, to research, and to report results in both written and verbal formats. They learn the skills they will use to succeed in industry. Former students of mine, who have gone on to work toward their BS degrees in various engineering fields, have found that classes at the college or university level are easy for them. They know how to proceed with taking a project from inception to completion. Our students who have recently graduated have:

  • Become student leaders in their respective universities.
  • Designed products that are patentable.
  • Become so adept at accurate and thorough documentation that their professors comment repeatedly about their abilities.
  • Amaze our business partners with the skills they have developed.
  • Become highly sought-after employees by companies with whom they have served internships.

Not enough can be said about how awesome these students are! Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it is SO worth it to stay the course! No one who has returned to visit with me has ever had anything but positive things to say about their high school engineering experience.

Technology and Engineering Education: Hands-on, Minds-on Education

Two Rivers High School: A Leader in STEM Education

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Two Rivers High School, in Weber School District, was recently named a “Model School” for their leadership in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, for the 2010-2011 school year, by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). They were one of 16 schools nationwide to be recognized with this award and were the only school selected in Utah. “We are excited to recognize these schools for their exemplary work with students on a daily basis,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. Two Rivers High School is the only school in Utah who has been recognized for their innovation and excellence with this award. (Read the press release here.)

Project Lead the Way is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs nationwide. PLTW pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems.

To qualify for such a prestigious award schools are nominated by individuals in the PLTW Network. PLTW then sends each nominee an application asking for detailed information about multiple aspects of the schools PLTW program. Schools are awarded points demonstrating key elements of the quality indicators as outlined by PLTW. Schools are judged by 37 performance indicators within five quality indicator categories— program implementation, postsecondary relationships, communications and outreach, professional development and student engagement. Model schools are then evaluated by select PLTW State Leaders and Affiliate Directors.

The Project Lead the Way assessment scores at Two Rivers High School are consistently the highest in the state. Four courses had a 100 percent pass rate with the other two courses scoring 96 and 98 percent. This is a tribute to the dedication of teachers and quality of instruction at Two Rivers High School.

The engineering program at Two Rivers High School is now in its eighth year. The program began in 2004 with two teachers offering two courses to 134 students. Now the program has five teachers, with multiple PLTW certifications, offering seven courses to 386 students—grades 9-12.

The programs 13-member advisory committee has partnered to develop a true work-based mentoring program consisting of guest speakers, field trips, job shadowing, and five-month senior internship opportunities. Companies have also offered summer employment and scholarships for engineering students. Engineers from local companies volunteer as consultants for the Engineering Design and Development course. These industry-engineers motivate students, listen to presentations, and judge the capstone engineering projects. Many of the senior engineering projects have been real engineering challenges associated with the needs of local companies.

The Two Rivers High School Engineering program has also received the following awards and recognitions during the past several years.

  • Utah Technology and Engineering Program of the Year 2010-11
  • Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce Education Partners in Education Award 2009 and 2010
  • SME Foundation Grant 2006-07

“The Engineering program at Two Rivers High School is unique in its recruitment, student retention, depth of curriculum offerings, year-end assessment scores, collaboration with industry partners, internship program, university linkage, and frugal development. However, the heart of this outstanding STEM program is the instructors. They are totally invested, excited about their curriculum, and committed to student success,” said Darrell Andelin, Technology and Engineering Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

Utah CTE gives a BIG shout-out to the following educators for their dedication to students and making the engineering program at Two Rivers High School a huge success.

Dale Pfister, CTE Director
Reed Newey, former CTE Director
Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator
Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher
Christopher Davidson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Jerry Nelson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Kevin Waters, Technology and Engineering teacher
John Donley, Technology and Engineering teacher

Utah’s Wind Energy

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Students from Milford High School, Milford, Utah


Have you noticed the wind farms going up in Utah? There are two windmills at Camp Williams, nine in Spanish Fork Canyon, and 97 in phase one of the Milford Corridor Project. The Milford Wind Farm is rated at 204 megawatts and has the capacity to generate clean, renewable energy to power 45,000 homes per year. The nine windmills in Spanish Fork Canyon can produce 74 percent of the electrical needs in Spanish Fork. Wind will definitely be a part of the energy future in Utah.


There is “power in the wind,” says Andy Swapp, Technology and Engineering Teacher at Milford High School. Watch how Andy Swapp and his students brought wind power to Milford, Utah.


Facts about Wind Energy:

  • In 2010, 1.1 percent of Utah’s power was provided by wind.
  • In Utah, wind farms power 50,000 homes.
  • Through 2009, the wind power installed in Utah avoided 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
  • In 2009, wind energy made up 1.8 percent of U.S. power generation.
  • Wind power accounts for about 50 percent of renewable energy.
  • Renewable energy is wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal power, energy from biomass, and wood or wood-derived products.
  • Currently, wind energy capacity in the U.S. is over 35,000 megawatts, compared to 3,000 megawatts in the year 2000.
  • 35,000 megawatts is enough electricity to power approximately 9.7 million homes.

Wind energy is creating new career opportunities in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, engineering, and business development. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) an estimated 85,000 Americans are employed in the wind power industry and its related fields.

Is a wind energy career in your future? Learn about the following occupations in wind energy:

                             > Energy Auditor                    > Wind Energy Engineer

                             > Energy Engineer                  > Wind Energy Operations Manager

                             > Electrician                           > Wind Energy Project Manager

                             > Mechanical Engineer            > Wind Turbine Service Technician


For more information about careers in wind energy, talk to your school counselor and get started in the Career and Technical Education Technology and Engineering Pathway today.