Julia Rich

PLTW program holds annual engineering week celebration

Students in PHS’s Project Lead the Way program, a four year science, technology, engineering, and mathematics class offered to students interested in fostering their interest in STEM, celebrated National Engineering Week (Feb. 18-24) last month. They had an annual PLTW event to showcase developing senior projects and hear presentations from six guest speakers, who work in engineering related fields.

Students spent an hour hearing the guest presentations, before sophomore and junior students had the opportunity to meet the presenters and interact with the Senior Engineering and Design Development projects. Lastly, an hour was devoted for senior students to meet with the engineers.

“I️ spoke to students about the things I have done as an engineer through my career, and how things have changed over the past thirty years to become more obsolete. Engineers [have to think] about things that they don’t even know that they need to,” explained guest speaker Anthony Hoffman, Director of I.T. Operations at FireEye.

“The importance of PLTW is learning how long it actually takes to create something, how it can fail incredibly often, and that you have to constantly modify your design, with the entire process requiring more testing than design,” he continued.

Several seniors, who have been working on their culminating project of the program since the beginning of the year, presented their project prototypes at the event. Many projects were still in the development phase and going through the trial and error processes while facing obstacles such as printing parts, figuring out patents, and actual execution.

   “In the class, you spend a lot of time brainstorming, then developing specific requirements, outlines, defining the problem, and coming up with a solution using your engineering notebook. Even then, the product may already be patented,” explained senior Andres Barbosa, who worked with fellow senior Christian Austin on a “Deeboard.”

All fourteen of the senior projects were created with the aim of responding to a problem or an inconvenience of aspects of daily life.

Seniors A.J. Beaulieu, Quinn Brenholtz, Ryan Haddaway and John Sartschev created the Interchangeable Cleat. The group focused on developing sports gear that, through the use of an adaptable or interchangeable sole, can be used for multiple types of sports and playing fields.

Seniors Chris Walter, Michael Sabett, and Sophie Zic created the “Modern Age Typewriter,” a note taking device that students with restrictions on electronic tools could use to efficiently and quickly record notes during their lectures.

“PLTW is something we do every year,” said junior Allison Foppe of the event, “it definitely fosters my interest in engineering and seeing what the seniors have come up with is motivating.”