The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 8, 2024

Engineering Partnership Team to supplement engineering curriculum

The engineering department is developing an Engineering Partnership Team to provide students with a real-world perspective on engineering and technology.

This group of local educators and engineers will provide internship opportunities, speakers, round table discussions, ideas for field trips and curriculum advice, said engineering department chair Rachel Stender, who is forming the team.

“Students benefit by hearing what it’s like in the real world,” Stender said. “They want to know: What can I actually do with this? Why am I taking this course? Why does this matter?”

Parent Bradd Schwichtenberg, a civil engineer for the U.S. Army, volunteered to serve on the team. He has 25 years of experience as a hydraulic, coastal and port engineer.

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The partnership team could help students like senior Danny McClanahan, who struggled to find an engineering internship last year.

An EPT would be able to help find internship opportunities and also follow up once the application is sent, McClanahan said.

Another goal of the partnership team is to show students the diversity that exists in the engineering field, Stender said.

“When people think of engineers, they often think of a white male,” she said. “That’s not what reality is.”

The team’s first step will be to mentor students who are developing engineering prototypes in the Engineering Design and Development class. In the future, the group might help create engineering design challenge days to encourage interest in engineering and raise money for related clubs such as the robotics team, Stender said.

Though the team will be valuable, integrating it into the engineering curriculum will take effort and time, she said.

“It’ll be a couple of years before it’s operating effectively,” Stender said. “Hopefully, with our incoming group of freshmen next year, we can capture some of those parents at back-to-school night and get more interest.”

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