Fort Thomas high school's new dual-credit engineering class offerings through University of Cincinnati are the latest in district's STEM expansion

Community Press & Recorder, Fort Mitchell, June 20, 2016

Fort Thomas high school adds UC engineering class
By Chris Mayhew

Jason Paul is studying to be an engineer while a student at Highlands High School where he designed his own working miniature airplane.

Paul will take one of four new engineering classes offered at the Fort Thomas school when classes begin Aug. 11.

The University of Cincinnati is offering Paul and other students dual credit for taking a new Engineering II course. Students will design their own creations on computers and then build them in a school STEM lab.

Paul said he enjoys tinkering and building miniature cars, planes or metal designs in his basement at home.

“If I think of an idea I’ll just sit down and draw it,” he said.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools has been expanding STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes at Highlands Middle School and the high school, said Ron Rosel, engineering technology teacher.

Building a new STEM curriculum included the community’s desires and an assessment of local manufacturing needs for prospective employees. Pathways to associate degrees, certificate programs and college are all built into the STEM curriculum, Rosel said.

New classes

Robotics and dual credit Engineering II are two new classes aimed at juniors and seniors, Rosel said.

Students taking dual credit engineering will have a chance to design using Inventor, a mechanical design and 3-D CAD program, and be able to use a new 3-D printer.

Highlands will later add a new advanced manufacturing class as an alternative to taking robotics, he said.

Rosel remade a pair of existing computer-aided design (CAD) courses into a principles of engineering technology course and a fundamentals of engineering class.

Creating digital movies, using hand tools and power tools, and basic engineering concepts are taught in the fundamentals class, he said.

“What we really want to do is to find those students who are exploring careers and give them a taste in what we call the principles of engineering tech class,” Rosel said.

About 20 to 25 students will take each STEM class.

Dual credit

Highlands junior Michael Siska said he will take the dual credit engineering class. Siska has already taken technology concepts, Engineering I (the former CAD class) and an engineering workshop.

Siska said the class will help him pursue becoming a mechanical engineer.

“The class in general will be fun, but the fact that I can save money on college makes it even better,” Siska said.

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