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FISD Engineering Program Encourages Problem Solving

May 25, 2017

Garver Gives Contest Participants

Engineers are always looking to identify a problem and solve it – even if they are still in high school.

Garver Engineering, Planning and Environmental Services of Frisco partnered with Frisco ISD’s Project Lead the Way (PTLW) engineering program to do just that – encourage future engineers to recognize problems and find solutions. The engineering firm worked with the Frisco Education Foundation to encourage and offer scholarship money to top problem solvers among the engineering students at the Career and Technical Education Center.

On Thursday, May 18, Garver judges met to see the final presentations of student teams who have worked throughout the year to identify a problem and develop a solution, as well as a cost analysis and suggestions for how to get products to market.

“We are thrilled to work with Garver as a partner. In addition to the scholarship money, the professional advice and real world critique the Garver judges offered the students is invaluable,” said Allison Miller, Director of Frisco Education Foundation and Partners in Education.

The curriculum at CTE is a certified Project Lead the Way program. The design and development program empowers students to adopt a problem solving mindset.

Instructor Ken Strong coached his students to work together, use tools available at the CTE such as the 3D printer, and to find mentors in the community.

In all 11 teams presented. The winners were awarded scholarship money from Garver through the Frisco Education Foundation. The “winning” problems were found in everyday situations that students observed in their own lives.

“It was exciting and encouraging to see the ingenuity of high school students who will be our future engineers,” said Quinn Spann, PE Garver Transportation Team Leader. “It was a wonderful experience to work with the students on their end of year projects and prepare them for the judging panel. The students were professional and have a bright future ahead of them,” added Heather Wootton, Garver Texas Water Business Planning Manager.

Taking Third Place were students Matt Hammond and Acacia Wood. They identified a problem with storing kitchen knives safely while reducing bacteria exposure. The students will split a $520 scholarship.

Second place was won by Emily Jones, Alec Barragan and Louis Almara. They worked on how to decrease problems and accidents caused by disc brakes on bicycles. Their team will split $1,000 between the three team members.

First Place Winners Tristan Williams and James VaughanAnd First Place went to the team of Tristan Williams and James Vaughan who will share $1,500 in scholarship money. Vaughan is a cyclist and had a close call with a driver who failed to see him as he was riding at dusk. He had bike lights, but the driver was behind him and nearly hit him. He and Tristan worked to create a high-powered light that can be attached to the back and seen by drivers who come upon cyclists in dark or foggy conditions. The V-Light was made with the help of the 3-D printer and can be attached to the bike with simple rubber straps. The light can be charged with any USB cord. The design involves soft foam fill that allows it to fit any style bike bar.

Vaughan is the team’s spokesman and Tristan is the detail man who made sure all steps were followed. “I would be driving to school and get an idea and record it on my phone,” Vaughan said. Williams would take those ideas, organize them and ”make sure we didn’t forget deadlines,” Vaughan said.

Also attending the presentation event was a representative of Pepsico (Frito Lay), Etang Pugh. She brought snacks to share with the students. The company has partnered with Frisco Education Foundation in the past and she was interested in seeing what young future engineers at the CTE were capable of designing. “We are interested in growing our company holistically and supporting STEM careers that produce a strong, community workforce. We are interested in seeing what the next generation wants in a career.”

These PTLW students want a career in engineering.

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