A Milestone of Our Progress in the STEM World

The Greenback Cutthroat Trout Capstone Group consists of Logan Barbich, Wesley Mazzuca, Jeremiah Nethken, Raymond Nowak, and William Solorio – all PLTW students from Northglenn High School in Northglenn, Colorado. They recently joined classmates and students from other area schools for a student showcase event at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Campus, which included a facility tour, a mentoring lunch, and an opportunity to showcase projects for Lockheed Martin employees. 

February 19, 2020, was the day that our capstone group and another had the honor of presenting our initial prototype to a plethora of engineers at Lockheed Martin, in addition to a tour.

As chaotic as our senior year has been thus far, we reasonably became anxious when our engineering capstone teacher invited our group to a field trip to Lockheed Martin. Our anxiety quickly became excitement as we prepared for the trip – for the moment we stepped into the bus in our suits with a poster in one hand and prototype in another. We knew we were ready.

After getting through security, the two groups from our school were joined by other schools as we were given a tour of a couple of their facilities. Personally, some of us have been rather indecisive about what we want to study in college, but getting to interact with successful engineers in the industry was definitely a highlight of the day for some of us. We have 3D modeling software at our high school, so when we were shown their virtual reality capabilities of enhancing this design aspect, many of us became fascinated.

From here, we took a shuttle to a building that housed a model habitat for a spacecraft and were given a detailed description of the types of models Lockheed builds to save money, materials, and time. Being able to learn about the many projects that Lockheed tackles and the professions that are involved really provided us with a great picture of the many possibilities our STEM skills can take us. For lack of a better word, we were stoked. 

Then after both tours, we returned to the main building with our presentation materials and ate lunch. Here, we had an opportunity to network and talk to different engineers about their work life, education, etc. Our team had lunch with an aerospace engineer who enlightened us of his journey towards finally working at Lockheed Martin. 

After lunch came what the rest of the team considered to be the highlight of the day – our presentation. To our surprise, the engineers were engaged during our presentation and gave us a number of questions, recommendations, and compliments about our design. To hear them describe our thinking process on the level of a professional engineering team certainly made our day, and we ultimately enjoyed and had fun that day.

Though the school day was over when we returned from the trip, the next day our capstone class went by smoothly as the team put into action the remaining testing for the prototype. While we may not be designing or building air and space vehicles, our team certainly felt confident about our ability to incorporate STEM within our capstone project via our engineering mentality, for one day we may be in the shoes of the engineers at Lockheed Martin.

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