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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/.

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…”