SAN BERNARDINO—The Aquinas Engineering Academy builds a strong foundation for college and career through the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Pathway. The Engineering Academy is in its third year and is proving to be a tremendous asset to academy students and the Aquinas community.
The Academy consists of a four-year course of study, lectures, field trips, and design opportunities. PLTW Engineering empowers students to step into the role of an engineer and adopt a problem-solving mindset.
“I am interested in becoming a mechanical engineer,” says Aquinas student Ryan Cantwell, an alum of Sacred Heart Academy in Redlands. “I feel the Engineering Program at Aquinas gives me a head start and will help me go far in my career.”
In year one of the program, students enroll in Introduction to Engineering Design. In this course students engage in the design process, applying math, science and engineering standards to hands on projects. In year two, students enroll in Principles of Engineering. In this course students explore a broad range of engineering topics including mechanisms, strength of structure and materials, and automation. Students then take what they’ve learned and design a self-powered car. In year three of the program students enroll in Civil Engineering and Architecture. Students learn important aspects of building and site design and development and they apply what they know to design a commercial building. Year four in the curriculum brings options, with one being Engineering Design and development. Students would identify a real-world challenge and research, design, and test a solution.
“The classes allow me to be creative and they have no limits,” says Natalie Maciel, who wants to be a civil engineer.
While she was a junior high student at St. George School, Maciel says the seventh and eighth grade Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) summer program at Aquinas inspired her to explore engineering.
The Engineering Academy admits freshmen students at the start of each school year. Aquinas is excited to experience the Academy’s first graduating class in 2020.