Sharon Ball is a PLTW Engineering Teacher at Patterson High School in Baltimore, Maryland, and has earned credits in PLTW courses including Engineering Design and Development and Digital Electronics. Sharon holds a master’s in education and a B.S. in electronics engineering. Sharon’s memberships include International Technology & Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
The PLTW Engineering capstone course, Engineering Design and Development, is an engineering research course during which high school seniors work in teams to design and develop an original solution to a valid, open-ended technical problem by applying the engineering design process. Students are challenged to create an original invention or innovate on an existing product to make it better.
Last spring, top-performing students from eight Baltimore City High Schools gathered at the University of Maryland BioPark to present the innovative ideas, product designs, and prototypes that they developed as the culmination of four years in the PLTW Engineering program. In partnership with University of Maryland BioPark, UPS, Whitman Requardt & Associates LLP, Emergent BioSolutions, and the UMB CURE Scholars Program, Baltimore City Public Schools hosted the third-annual EDD Symposium to give senior high school students the opportunity to present their designs to industry and higher education professionals, as well as their peers.
Over 100 seniors, forming 40 teams, presented in this year’s symposium. These teams represented Patterson High School, Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology, National Academy Foundation, Edmondson-Westside High School, Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy.
Junior students from these PLTW schools also participated in the event, viewing the projects, learning about the engineering design process, and getting a sense of what they will be expected to complete next year.
To cap off the day’s events, the Innovation Showcase Reception was held in the evening. The event was an opportunity for students to share their ideas and innovations with various industry and education partners, community members, media, and dignitaries. As one industry partner shared during the event, “I am still talking about last year’s showcase.” Another partner added, “The students never cease to amaze me.” This annual reception and the EDD Symposium continue to recognize and celebrate the talent, creativity, and ingenuity of Baltimore City’s future engineers and entrepreneurs.
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