Student Shares How PLTW Engineering Pathway Empowered Her to Thrive

While in school, Carysanne Fielding considered becoming a singer, a diplomat, or a fashion merchandiser, but she never considered becoming an engineer until she participated in PLTW Gateway. Today, Fielding is a freshman at the University of Cincinnati studying chemical engineering.

“I didn't understand what an engineer was prior to this class and assumed it was no more than a fancy name for a mechanic, a trade I found wholly uninteresting,” she said.

Fielding attended Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelbyville, Kentucky, where she completed PLTW Gateway units in middle school and then PLTW Engineering courses Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Engineering Design and Development in high school. As she considered what to study in college, she reflected on her PLTW engineering pathway experience and how it challenged her in a way that no other classes could. She was exploring many different post-secondary institutions, but knew she was looking for a similar experience that she had in high school.

“PLTW taught me the impact that practical application has on an individual's understanding of curriculum,” she said, citing the connections PLTW classes make to real-world challenges.

In addition, Fielding said she feels confident in her studies because of her exposure to PLTW.

“The simple familiarity and base-level knowledge I gained in my PLTW classes has made my first few college engineering classes much less daunting,” she said. “We work with many of the same programs and perform incredibly similar labs, which allows me to be a leader in my classrooms and explore the content on a deeper level than if I was struggling to understand it for the first time.”

Exposure to this opportunity made a huge impact on Fielding’s confidence, communication skills, and overall ability to interact with professionals as an assured, intelligent prospective employee.

“This is why I think outreach to middle and elementary school programs is invaluable in getting kids, especially girls, exposed to and interested in STEM fields,” she said.

Fielding had the opportunity to meet and share her experience with PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram at the PLTW Kentucky State Conference. Bertram opened the conference by addressing the crowd of PLTW teachers and administrators gathered to share best practices and learn from each other.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.