Student Conference Provides Interactive Engineering Excursion at the University Level

Seven students from Liberty Christian traveled to Texas A&M Jan. 24 with teachers Brent Dragoo and Dawn Lobbes for a two-day engineering experience complete with an innovative design challenge, classroom and lab tours, and a college fair with various departments in the College of Engineering.

"Our students enjoyed an opportunity to explore engineering at the college level and build new relationships with like-minded students from across the state,” said Dr. Dragoo, science teacher and solar car sponsor.
 
Attendees Michaella DeCapua, Emma Lobbes, George Marye, Connor Menckhoff, Peyton Necaise, Luke Rosprim, and Trey Wells sat in on either a petroleum engineering or a 200 level physics course. Student Emma Lobbes attended the physics class.
 
"I loved sitting in on a college-level class,” she said. “From what I am learning now at Liberty, I believe I will be ready for this level of physics course when I am in college someday.”
 
Students took part in a fair of the various engineering colleges and visited with at least seven engineering fields that were represented, including Aerospace, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer, Engineering Tech and Industrial Distribution, Industrial and Systems, Material Science, Mechanical, Nuclear, Ocean, and Petroleum.
 
They heard from an admissions counselor, an industry speaker, and a former aerospace engineer, and visited biomedical, neurocognitive, and industrial and systems engineering labs, as well as the makerspace in the recently remodeled engineering building, the Zachry Engineering Education Complex.
 
Two design challenges promoted problem solving and creativity. Students practiced their soft skills with both design challenges through communicating, presenting, and working as a team. In the first challenge, students used Lego Mindstorm kits to design a preprogrammed robot that would accomplish a specific task.
 
The second design challenge involved creating a prototype of a toy that would help a child in some way. They were assigned materials such as aluminum foil, pipe cleaners, pipe insulation, glue, colored paper, paper plates, and a trash bag. In addition, they had to give a presentation of the toy by the entire design team. In these design groups of approximately eight members, students worked with others they had never met before.
 
"The conference offered our students the opportunity to explore the Texas A&M College of Engineering, interact with current engineering students, and complete these two design challenges,” said Mrs.  Lobbes, a chemistry, physics and systematic theology teacher. “They learned the importance of developing teamwork, communication, problem-solving skills, and a strong work ethic, along with combining the application of their math and science expertise."
 
Next year, Mrs. Lobbes plans to bring another group of students and include a visit to A&M’s Nuclear Science Center and Cyclotron Institute, as well as the George Bush Presidential Library. 
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1301 South Highway 377    |    Argyle, Texas 76226   |    940-294-2000

Liberty Christian School offers a Christ-centered, college preparatory education from preschool through 12th grade with excellence in academics, fine arts, athletics, and spiritual life.