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Inspiring a New Generation of Engineers – Edgewater High School

• Kassandra Elekes

“I came to a realization about how much manufacturing can cost and how many variables there are.” 

That was not the answer I expected to hear while talking to Benjamin, a junior at Edgewater High School in Orlando. Benjamin was one of two dozen students that day constructing fully functioning, automated conveyor belts as part of their Project Lead The Way – Computer Integrated Engineering course.  

When asked to share something they learned through this project, Benjamin and his teammate Vance didn’t mention programming the light sensors on their conveyor belt or designing the prototype with an emergency shut-off button. (Although they did perform those activities). Instead, Benjamin explained that he was surprised by how much work it took to price out available parts, estimate energy usage and construct the belt in a way to stay under budget.  

If that sounds like a “real world” scenario these students are likely to encounter, that’s because Project Lead The Way designed it that way. Course facilitator, former engineer Lisa Apen, sees the course as a way to help students develop problem-solving skills that will serve them well in any career path they choose.  

To learn more about Edgewater High School’s innovative engineering program, watch the video below. 

Project Lead The Way programs are made possible through a partnership between Orange County Public Schools and Lockheed Martin. 

About the author

Kassandra Elekes

Kassandra serves as the Deputy Director of State Communications for the Foundation for Excellence in Education and is responsible for crafting strategic communication campaigns and cultivating stakeholder engagement to support the foundation’s mission of building an education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked with Florida’s business community to develop innovative solutions to the Sunshine State’s current and future challenges as the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Director of Marketing and Engagement. Her experience also includes serving as the Florida Department of Education’s Director of Digital Media and as the Community Relations Manager at the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing and Communication Management. She is passionate about improving outcomes for all students, especially her daughter and son.