ODA’s Budding Engineering Program Begins to Draw Students

Brett Szalbirack building an Altoids flashlight.

Brett Szalbirack building an Altoids flashlight.

Jack Malcolm, Staff Writer

Imagine building new eco-friendly skyscrapers, bridges that are sturdier and less expensive, or a computer program that can identify fake news on social media. The bounds are endless with engineering. Students just need to develop an interest and run with it.

Mr. Kinser, a new teacher at ODA, wants to instill this thought process into his students’ heads. Kinser envisions ODA bringing the “E” in STEM to students. Next year he hopes to introduce an elective called Engineer Your World, which would teach students, “how to solve problems, how to be creative, logical, and look through the lens of a rapidly changing world,” says Kinser. One day, Kinser hopes, the class could even become a core requirement. After taking the course, students would continue down more specialized engineering paths. These courses would include projects connecting students to local businesses and universities.

Kinser wants to change the way students look at the world by teaching them how to create solutions for the future. This gives students skills needed to be successful in the modern workforce and helps them create a better future for everyone.

Kinser is beginning to build an engineering program at ODA from scratch, but he needs student interest for his plans to come to fruition. Many of Mr. Kinser’s lunch-time meetings have had very low attendance. Kinser believes this is not a matter of lack of interest, but rather a lack of exposure to engineering and the opportunities it can provide. Some students agree.

“Previously there have been limited opportunities for engineering, and many students may have not known about the coming engineering department. Now that there is a teacher like Mr Kinser who is willing to create a space in the school dedicated to students who wish to take engineering, I believe that many more students will flock to these new programs,” says, Junior, Christopher Eckart.

Other students, already involved in the budding engineering program, feel similarly. The engineering program holds an incredible opportunity, but it lacks the base that it is for. The interest is in the students, it just needs to be sparked.

“I love creating, whether it be 3D printing or programming robots. I know that many students have similar interests as I do, but that it is just a matter of tapping into them,” voices, Sophomore, John Floersheimer.