Students Put their Creativity to the Test in Engineering Classes

By Jenna Falconite, Staff Writer

Trinity Hall is a unique school in many ways, including the outstanding engineering program. The school boasts an award-winning college preparatory program that emphasizes critical thinking and encourages students to use their creativity and collaboration to solve real world problems. The school features a dedicated engineering lab and engineering studio space, both equipped with 3D printers, soldering irons, band saws and other tools to give students an accurate representation of what they might experience in a college level engineering class. 

Early spring is often a busy time of year for engineering classes, as students gear up for their final projects. Recently, the Trinity Hall Tribune took a dive into the STEM department to get a glimpse of what each grade is working on in their engineering classes. 

Freshman engineering students are putting their brand new soldering skills to the test by making an LED light-up bracelet and a light-up spring greeting card. 

“When I started soldering, I was scared that I was going to burn myself, but it was actually a lot of fun to do!” freshman Maebh McCarthy said. “It has definitely been my favorite activity that we have done so far this year.” 

 Freshmen are learning about electronics and circuits in order to prepare for their final project. Students also simulated circuits using Arduino microcontrollers and digital electronic components using their coding skills.

The sophomores are working on the engineering component of their Sustainable City projects, an interdisciplinary final project that spans all subjects. Students are in the Urban Planning Phase of the project, where they are arranging the layout of their cities and designing a scale model of it. This requires students to challenge themselves and think about all the necessary environmental amenities and lifestyle needs for a diverse green community.

Senior Molly G. presents her senior capstone engineering project to her classmates on the last day of classes for seniors, April 30. (Photo courtesy of Lynn Retterer)

Juniors are completing their biomedical engineering project before beginning their final experience. They first simulated a copy of a turkey bone to practice their modeling skills and ability to recreate a bone. In part two of this project, students were given a broken deer bone and had to design a 3D-printed device to mend the bone and increase its strength. They tested the strength of their device to see how much force it could take before breaking.

“Although there were some difficulties along the way, I really enjoyed the turkey bone project because it gave me an opportunity to think creatively with a group about a problem that had real world applications,” junior Caroline Cashman said. “One difficulty my group faced was rebuilding our prototype bone after it broke. While it wasn’t ideal, it gave us an opportunity to approach the problem from a different perspective.”

Seniors are finishing up their four years of engineering with their senior capstone project, an individual project where students showcase their accumulated engineering skills by creating a unique solution for a real world problem that they are passionate about. Students’ project ideas cover a variety of fields. Prior to beginning work on their capstone, seniors recently completed an hydraulic arm, which involves building a water powered robotic arm out of cardboard and putting it to the test by seeing how much weight it can pick up and move. 

“The hydraulic arm was really hard to build. It took multiple iterations for the parts to fit together and work, but once we secured everything and tested it a few times, it worked like a gem. It felt so good to see our hard work prevail,” senior Lucy Retterer said.

Although every engineering project is both challenging and unique, engineering teacher Kali Lambrou feels the Senior Capstone project is her favorite of the four-year curriculum. “The Senior Capstone project is the culminating project of the four year program and continues to leave a legacy of innovative solutions that show empathy and personalization for the populations that are elevated by the beneficial nature of each of the projects,” Lambrou said. “It is my favorite one of all!”

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