Teacher's Passion Project Engineering Career Day

East Teacher's Passion Project Delivers Engineering, Technology Career Day
Posted on 12/06/2018
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Engineering day topographical exhibitIt’s not every day that the school gymnasium doubles as a holding place for robots, augmented reality, a topographical sand pit, model bridges and other representations of career paths marked by technology and engineering skills. But on Nov. 16, this was the scene at Lakota East High School as about 15 local businesses put their best work on display.  

It was a scene that physics teacher and lead facilitator John Severns had envisioned for many years. But it wasn’t until he was challenged to select a passion project through his involvement in Lakota NEXT - a district committee tasked with re-imagining the high school experience - that he decided to turn his idea into a reality. It’s representative of Lakota’s increasing commitment to draw the connection between learning and real world applications, especially as they relate to post-graduation options.

“I am passionate about helping students explore career opportunities,” said the former P&G scientist of his project that allowed every single East science student to attend the career fair. “By bringing in professionals and educational experts, I hope students walked away with some new ideas about what they might pursue as a career.”

Among the exhibitors was a particularly strong showing by Cincinnati State’s Center for Innovative Technology, which showcased two-year programs ranging from electrical, mechanical and civil engineering to aviation maintenance and environmental technology. Severns noted that many students were surprised by the options available through a two-year program.

Associate Dean Kim McMillan was grateful for the opportunity to expose students to the possibilities of a field with “more open positions than there are qualified people to fill them.” She noted the increasingly “invisible” programs in which the engineer’s work is more behind the scenes and not always something a student realizes as a career possibility.

“Engineering is a general field, but there are so many different focal points that students can consider,” McMillan said. “Oftentimes, a two-year degree can give them the edge they need to start off in a troubleshooting role or doing something more hands-on operationally.” She thought the career fair was a great first step in getting students to answer basic questions like what they might do or where they might work should they choose a career in technology or engineering.  

Severns commented that students were encouraged by how passionate the exhibitors were about their jobs and also excited to see the technology behind some of the things they take for granted on a daily basis.

East sophomore Ryan McConnell has always taken more of an interest in biology, but enjoyed seeing another side of science-minded careers. “I didn’t know much about engineering fields, but it was cool to see how they directly apply to so many everyday things.”