Aspiring engineers present projects to the community

Aspiring engineers present projects to the community
Posted on 12/11/2017
Bryce Goetz was one of 11 students in Northeast Tech’s Pre-Engineering Program who presented their capstone projects to the community on Thursday evening. He and his teammate, Tyler Boyer, designed a specialized utensil for distributing delicate finger foods at social gatherings.    Eleven high school students gathered anxiously around their teacher, Cindy Hammock, for one final pep talk before the start of their public presentations.

“You guys will be great,” Hammock said. “It will be over before you know it, so just take a deep breath.”

More than 50 friends, family members and citizens gathered in the auditorium at Northeast Tech’s Claremore Campus to hear the capstone presentations from students in Northeast Tech’s Pre-Engineering Program. The presentations are the final project assigned to students in the Engineering, Design and Development course, and Hammock is a fan the assignment, even though many of them dread the public presentation.

“I feel the students need this conclusion or finale of their project,” Hammock said. “Also, they really do not want to embarrass themselves in front of their parents and the community.”

Earlier in the semester, the students were required to identify a problem and progress through a number of stages to generate a solution. Arriving at the solution involved a number of tasks such as developing problem statements, using a decision matrix, creating prototypes and conducting market research.

“Research is one of the most important takeaways from this project,” Hammock said. “They are not use to becoming experts at anything at this age, and to think, ‘Wow this product could become a reality,’ is a new experience.”

The creativity in projects ranged from specialized backpacks, to a cooling case for smartphones, to kitchen utensils. Teammates Avi Patel, Nathan Elliott and Nathan Bright were the first to present, and they walked the audience through the many steps involved in their project.

“We used a decision matrix to select the best concept, and had to contact our experts for advice,” said Elliott. “My concept had a fan on the back, and while we initially thought one of the other designs would be best, ultimately we went with my design concept based on feedback from our experts.”

Colton Wiggs and his team developed the, “Never Trip Backpack Assistant” to improve classroom safety, and they were surprised to learn several new skills in creating their prototype.

“We assembled it all in class, which was difficult since none of us knew how to sew,” Wiggs said with a laugh. “It took some time, but we figured it out.”

With all the complexities of the project, it’s not surprising that each student had their favorite – and least favorite – portion.

“My favorite part of the project was the building of the design because it showed that what we were
doing was possible,” said Tyler Boyer. “My least favorite part was starting over. It crushed our spirits, but we had to pick ourselves back up to start the next project.”

Despite successes, failures, and the stress of letting the students control every aspect of their own projects, Hammock was beaming from the back of the room as each group presented.

“I am so proud of how they step up and act like adults,” Hammock said. “They own it.”

Hammock was also quick to express her appreciation for those who serve on the program’s advisory council.

“I would love to thank Frank Robson for always being very supportive of our program. He truly loves coming to the presentations,” said Hammock. “Also Jeff Niblack has always be a great help with feedback to the students. He and his wife Tracey take notes on each team and talk about which team performed the best, have the best product, and what they can do to improve.”

After all four presentations, the evening concluded with refreshments and compliments for the students’ work. The students and Hammock were visibly relieved the that the projects were complete.

“They’ve been practicing their presentations and gathering supplies for weeks, and they are almost giddy about what they are not going to do tomorrow,” Hammock said laughing.

Northeast Tech’s Pre-Engineering program is housed at Claremore High School, however, the program is open to all Rogers County juniors and seniors. Enrollment for the program begins in January of each year, and for more information, contact Northeast Tech Student Advisor, Paula Reed at 918-342-8066.
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