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Building a STEM Future

Students+at+work+in+Room+140.
Students at work in Room 140.

Students at work in Room 140.

Photo by Ava Maurillo

Photo by Ava Maurillo

Students at work in Room 140.

Ava Maurillo, Iris Commentary Editor

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Once a space full of baby projects and health triangle posters, Room 140 has officially made its switch to earthquake tables and circuit boards for WHS’s new Engineering and Design class.

With a grant from the Westfield Foundation, Westfield Public School’s Human Resource Specialist Ms. Barbara Ball and Engineering and Design Teacher Ms. Laura Doyle joined forces to kickstart the class. It is now a full year course available to 10-12th graders, inspired by University of Texas Austin’s “Engineering Your World” curriculum.

Before this year, WHS offered little in terms of engineering, but after Ball’s collaboration with Doyle the class is in full swing.

“I actually went through this class as a student this summer, doing the year long curriculum in ten days,” Doyle said, “it was intense but excellent to be able to do as a student.”

From civil to chemical engineering, Doyle’s class focuses on seven central units that encompass the diverse fields of engineering. Starting off the year by making pinhole cameras for those with hand disabilities, Engineering and Design branches out to other unique projects as well.

“We do a challenge where we have to create the perfect cup of coffee, build and redesign towers to withstand earthquakes, make electronic music with Arduino circuit boards and create ‘aerial systems’ where something goes way high in the air and takes pictures of its descent,” Doyle explained.

The creative nature of Engineering and Design has been a pleasant surprise to students. Senior Pierre Sulmont stated, “I thought it was going to be like physics again, more stressful and a lot of math, but it’s really enjoyable.”

While Doyle hopes her class sparks students’ interest in the world of engineering, she has one goal for certain: “I want my students to gain an appreciation for what’s around us because everything in our world has been engineered.”

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