Citrus Valley provides options in engineering pathways

By KAITLYN SUTOW


According Citrus Valley High School’s engineering teacher, Paul Bartlett, “engineering is problem solving” in its simplest form. It is a discipline focused on math but committed to finding modern solutions for modern problems. 

At Citrus Valley, there are two pathways for engineering: the Design Pathway and the Engineering Technology Pathway. The Design Pathway includes Tech Drawing class and Architecture and Design class, which are both one semester courses, and Pre-Engineering class, a one year program. On the other hand, Engineering Technology starts with Tech Drawing, moves to the semester-long Robotics class, and then advances to the Advanced Computer-Aided Design class. 

Brian Bartlett (left), a Pre-Engineering and Design and Technical Drawing teacher at Citrus Valley, helps Samuel Felix, a CAD student, on his project, Dec. 12, 2019 at Citrus Valley. The engineering pathway “provides another route for students to either go to college or career,” says Bartlett. “We’ve had engineering design and CAD drawing classes and now we have advanced CAD and robotics and architecture” says Bartlett. (Ethan Dewri / Ethic Photo)

The Design Pathway covers structural, civil, mechanical, aerospace, environmental and computer engineering while the Engineering Technology Pathway focuses on manufacturing, 3D printing, and machinery like laser cutters and engraver tools.

Both courses participate in competitions such as the SkillsUSA Competition, which is career-based and consists of regional, state and national levels. The competition features “sectors,” or categories, such as Urban Search and Rescue, Architectural Design, Mobile Robotics, Additive Manufacturing and Principles of Engineering Technology. 

In the engineering classes, students use computer programs such as SolidWorks to generate and design projects before even building them. SolidWorks is highly advanced compared to similar available programs, making Citrus Valley’s students very lucky to have such resources. As most high schools and some colleges do not have SolidWorks, Citrus Valley’s engineering students can get ahead in their field by gaining crucial experience with cutting-edge tools and programs. 

Parker Fike, a senior and engineering program veteran, found the classes are fun but challenging as “it’s a lot harder than you anticipate.” Nonetheless, Fike still enjoyed the program and looks forward to a career in electrical engineering. 

Engineering student Nathan Almanger said that “there are a lot of problems you won’t expect” in reference to the pathways’ many challenges, such as missing pieces in a project or starting from scratch to create a working final product. Almanger also wans to pursue a career in engineering, but more focused on mechanical work. 

Although the engineering program is extensively rooted in difficult math concepts, it still allows all students work with their hands, express their creativity and possibly discover a new passion or career path. It gives participating students the opportunity to experiment with dynamic subjects that they may consider later in life when applying to college or choosing profession.

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