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Herriman High School Students Work in a SmartLab

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

By Kim Durfee
Technology and Engineering Teacher and TSA Advisor at Herriman High School

Have you ever had an idea that would make a task easier? What can a talented and motivated learner achieve in a true 21st century learning environment? How about creating a mechanical prosthetic hand for his niece? Tanner Day, a senior at Herriman High School, will tell you that all he needed was the right idea, the right resources and a place in his school where he was free to be creative and express his passion for building things. Tanner and many other students find this perfect combination within the SmartLab. In Tanner’s case, having a supportive mentor/SmartLab facilitator to encourage him and a beautiful little niece for inspiration didn’t hurt.

In my 30 plus years of teaching, the most rewarding years have been the last 20 as a SmartLab facilitator watching kids achieve more than they ever imaged they could. Every year we have students like Tanner who catch on fire with an inspiring project idea that causes them to stretch and grow in ways that makes you proud to be a part of their growing experience. We can motive and inspire hundreds students like Tanner by providing them with access to state of the art technology, equipment, curriculum and the space and freedom to be creative. I have personally watched my SmartLab students and many others in SmartLabs all around the country, develop engineering skills, but more importantly the 21st century learning skills they need to be career and college ready. Whether it’s a TSA robotics competition championship or one of my students taking first place at the Utah Film Festival, the method, the story of how they got there is the same…student-centered, project based learning. SmartLabs are 21st century learning environments, custom designed and supported by Creative Learning Systems.

Read the success stories of Tanner Day and other Herriman High School students:
> 3-year-old’s uncle builds prosthetic hand
> Herriman High TSA highlights

See what other SmartLab students from around the country are doing at Student Project Showcase.

Nationally, engineering is the second largest of all professions. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, by the year 2020 Utah’s workforce is expected to include a total of 25,670 people working as engineers, drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians.

The Technology Student Association (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 to supplement the curriculum in Technology and Engineering. To become a member of Utah TSA contact the TSA advisor in your school.

If you have an idea that would make a task easier and would like to participate in a Technology and Engineering Pathway talk to your school counselor. Your school counselor can assist you with registering for a Career and Technical Education class in the Technology and Engineering Pathway that will give you the opportunity to work in a SmartLab.

Hunter Okerlund: Future Mechanical Engineering Technician

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Hunter Okerlund
Occupational Goal: Mechanical Engineering Technician

“I am very interested in the field of engineering because technology changes all the time. There will always be problems to solve and processes to improve.

“I have always liked doing hands-on projects and thinking of different ways to make something better. With my CTE classes in Project Lead the Way, I was able to see whole processes, from the design stage on paper to transferring that design and idea into a computer application, then all the way to building a prototype. I hope to use these classes and experiences in a future college class to further my education, and in a career to improve systems in business and communities.”

 —Hunter Okerlund, Fremont High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Hunter on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Weber State University. Hunter was one of 102 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

Meet Braden Eichmeier: Future Engineer

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

BRADEN EICHMEIER, senior at Bonneville High School in Weber School District.

CTE Pathway: Braden is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses available.

Senior Project: Braden placed second at the Autoliv senior research project on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Braden is a member of the swim team at Bonneville High School.

Study Habits: Braden received a composite score of 31 on the ACT. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA he participates on the schools swim team. His past experience in many Advanced Placement courses in chemistry, calculus and English literature have given Braden an insight into hard work and meeting deadlines.

“Achieving Bonneville High’s nomination as their Mathematics Sterling Scholar Award winner for the academic year 2012-2013 is proof of his diligence and dedication to completing a very difficult pathway, and one that can assist his studies in engineering in the future,” says Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator over the Project Lead the Way Program.

Soft Skills: “Braden is personable, a great team leader, self-assured (not arrogant but confident) and just a great asset to have in class,” says his PLTW instructors.

Future: Braden has the technical understanding for a career in a wide-range of engineering fields. He has investigated digital electronics, engineering design, computer driven manufacturing systems, and drafting software in Inventor programs. He has accepted a scholarship to Utah State University.

Testimonial: “Reflecting back on my personal changes that came as a result of schooling, I used to try to hasten the result, finding the quickest way to solve issues. I found that with my involvement in PLTW, and even other AP courses that I have taken, the method I take now has distinctly changed in regards to problems, research, and concepts taught in classes that I experience. I am much more detailed. I look for situations of cause and effect, and I would admit that I am much more detailed about my work. My thought processes have changed. With academics playing such a big role in my life, and now with swimming,  I find that it is a balancing act and I must prioritize my time and studies. I am very goal oriented and I am excited about the opportunities and options I have living in Utah. Things are good for me!”


Meet Ethan Leeds: Future Nuclear Engineer

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

ETHAN I. LEEDS, senior at Weber High School in Weber School District.

CTE Pathway: Ethan is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses available.

Senior Project: Ethan completed the senior research project for Autoliv on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Ethan is an avid runner who views his efforts in this lifetime sport as a challenge to understanding the limits on his own personal growth.

Study Habits: Ethan is an outstanding student who attacks his studies in much the same manner as he attacks running. He has proven it with his 3.99 GPA and with an outstanding score of 35 on the math comprehension part of the ACT. These academic achievements have given Ethan the confidence to strive for a career in engineering.

Soft Skills: Ethan is self-driven, polite, confident, and a very detailed worker. He likes and looks forward to a challenge. His classmates and teachers all describe Ethan as “a joy to work.”

Future: Ethan has submitted his candidacy for the NAVAL ROTC scholarship program. Selections will be made in April 2013.

Testimonial: “My involvement in PLTW has really clarified my educational pursuits. Coming into the program, like most kids, I had no plan for a career or a pathway of study to guide me. Being involved allowed me first to become aware of options, and secondly to identify classes and subjects that I should be familiar with in order to pursue those subjects I enjoy. Obviously, my dream is now at hand, with the NAVAL ROTC Contract of Commitment signed, and my placement within the nuclear engineering field of study I have found the field of engineering that I most likely will complete. Working with class mentors associated with Autoliv, teachers, and businesses has allowed me to develop a conversation about the education and training involved that I must master in order to reach my goals. I have the brightest future possible due to my schooling and PLTW!”

Meet Julia Satterthwaite: Future Engineer

Monday, February 25th, 2013

JULIA SATTERTHWAITE, student at Roy High School in Weber School District

CTE Pathway: Julia is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. She has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking six of the seven courses offered.

Senior Project: Julia’s senior project involved developing a solution to the air bag deployment stability for Autoliv. Her senior project team placed 1st in the competition, conducted by Autoliv and their engineering staff. Julia is currently the team leader of the district’s VEX Robotics Team. The team will be competing to repeat as a qualifier in the World VEX Robotic competitions to be held in Anaheim, California this spring.

Study Habits: Julia is an excellent student and earned a composite score of 25 on the ACT. While maintaining a 3.67 GPA,  Julia works part-time for Farmers Insurance Agency, participates in a full-year internship with Fresenius Medical Care in Ogden, takes college concurrent enrollment courses, and has a full slate of Advanced Placement classes—English Literature, Calculus, U.S. History and English Composition. Julia applied and was a finalist at the Roy High School Science Sterling Scholar program.

Soft Skills: “Julia’s most notable features are her endless energy and positive attitude, about all things. She is personable, dynamic, and ‘she will get in your face,’ and that is always fun!” says Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator over the Project Lead the Way Program.

Future: Julia is committed to her career plan of achieving an engineering degree at a university in Utah.

Testimonial: “I look at many things through an inquisitive eye now that I have had science and engineering in my life. That is to say, I ponder about the energy involved in traveling and the resistance that cars present to their movement as a result of their design; I figure math problems and fuel costs now that I pay a bigger portion of my way. I just look at things through an analytical eyepiece. I owe that to my involvement in school and specifically to physics and engineering. Since becoming involved in PLTW I have had to become more focused about my studies. Before, school was just school, random classes were being taken for credit. Now, with my [Project Lead the Way] Pathway involved and the goal to achieve an engineering degree, I feel that I am really focused on the task at hand! I enjoy the competition in classes where I am a minority by gender. I have a reason to go to school and a goal to achieve as I am now looking forward to graduation. I am truly excited about my future and all the things that are in front of me.”

Meet Elias Johnson: Future Aerospace Engineer

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

ELIAS JOHNSON, student at Weber High School in Weber School District

CTE Pathway: Elias is currently enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-Engineering Program. He has participated in this pathway of pre-engineering studies for the past four years, taking five of the seven courses offered.

Senior Project: Elias completed the senior research project for Autoliv on airbag devices.

Sports Enthusiast: Elias has been competing nationally as an Epee Fencer for two years. This had led to an early appointment to the Air Force Academy (AFA) Men’s Epee Fencing team. This recognition was the recruitment spark that made an aerospace engineering career possible. Elias has accepted an invitation and will compete as an Epee Fencer for the AFA, a Division I NCAA program.

Study Habits: While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, with a composite score of 29 on the ACT, Elias has participated and attended two International Science and Engineering Fairs (ISEF)—one in 2009 and the other in 2011. In addition to the PLTW courses, Elias has taken several Advanced Placement courses that include calculus and physics. Last month, Elias was nominated as Weber High Schools Science Sterling Scholar for the 2012-2013 school year.

Soft Skills: Elias is described by his teachers as being “highly self-motivated, creative, and a definite ‘outside the box’ guy.” Problem solving has become Elias’ trademark in his school studies.

Future: Studying aerospace engineering at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Testimonial of Elias: “PLTW is an incredible experience for me; it brought about a new aspect and method in which to approach problems that I came in contact within research and design. I felt that my educational pathways opened up and widen as each class I took brought about a new awareness towards fields of study that were alike, yet so different. I moved specifically from my interests in civil engineering to a fascination about aerospace engineering and the many new applications that we discussed in class. I felt my pathways broadened. After my experience in the senior Engineering Design class I felt confident in my ability to work with engineering mentors at Autoliv, who reinforced my studies, my viewpoints, and solutions to problems we were facing. I felt competent in my answers and knowledge that I demonstrated within my project. I was prepared to do the work asked of me within my mentoring experience.”


It’s coming. . .TSA State Conference

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

In Utah, over 1,800 middle/junior high and high school students aspire to be future engineers, scientists and technologists through the Technology Student Association (TSA). Right now, TSA students across the state are preparing for the upcoming TSA State Conference that will be held March 19-20, 2013. Middle/junior high school students will compete in events ranging from digital photography to electrical applications to global manufacturing to VEX robotics competitions. High school students will compete in events ranging from engineering design to scientific and technical visualization to structural engineering to VEX robotics competitions.

Who: Middle/junior high and high school students
What: TSA State Conference
Where: Jordan Applied Technology Center
When: March 19-20, 2013
Middle school competitive events held on March 19, 2013
High school competitive events held on March-20, 2013
How: To compete in a competition, register online beginning Friday, February 1, 2013. Registration closes Monday, March 11. 2013. (All affiliated chapters will be issued a state user name and password in order to register.)
Cost: The conference is $20.00 for students, advisors, and guests.

Only TSA chapters who have completed their membership registration with National TSA will be able to participate at the State Conference. If your chapter has not affiliated with the National TSA office, you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

Utah TSA members represent students with many interests and talents. The scope of technology continues to expand and as a result the TSA competitive events are wide ranging. There is not an employer today that does not seek the most technologically literate employees who have the leadership and organizational skills of a TSA member.

TSA fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering. Members apply and integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through co-curricular activities, competitions and related programs.

If you are not a member of TSA and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the TSA advisor in your school.

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/.