For nearly 25 years, PLTW has offered transformative classroom and learning experiences for PreK-12 students. Now, many of those students are professionals in STEM fields. We recently reached out to several PLTW alumni to learn more about their educational and career journeys and find out what advice they have for current PLTW students. If you are a PLTW alumnus interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you here.
Tad Sperka lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and works as a LiftFan Product Assurance Engineer for Rolls-Royce Corporation. In high school, he completed courses in the PLTW Engineering program.
In what grades did you participate in PLTW? What were some of your most memorable experiences from PLTW?
I participated in PLTW my junior and senior years of high school. Some of the most memorable aspects were being exposed to the AutoCad in class, as well as working with industry professionals.
What did your journey look like to get to where you are today?
In high school, I completed all the technology-based courses that were available, including the PLTW courses offered at Brownsburg High School. Following completion of the courses I participated as a high school intern with Rolls-Royce. This entailed me going to school half day and working at Rolls-Royce the 2nd half. Following high school, I attended the Purdue University School of Engineering at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis While studying mechanical engineering, I worked as a co-op student for Rolls-Royce during my entire college career.
What is your current role within your company?
Currently, I am a Product Assurance Engineer for the LiftFan system. This means I ensure the quality of the product that we build and sell from the individual component quality, assembly quality, test process, through the sale of the engine even to the point of investigating field related issues. This has me reviewing part blueprints, manufacturing processes, assembly processes, and testing procedures.
What did you learn in PLTW that still helps you today?
In the AutoCad class, I learned basic drafting and how things must be done in a certain order to get the right result even though things may appear correct.
Do you have any advice for current PLTW students?
If technology truly interests you, keep pursuing it. Things change and get difficult, but it is really rewarding when you see something you have had a hand in used in real-world applications.