Seniors end academy with projects

High school students at the Red River Technology Center, or Vo-tech, have the opportunity to take two years of specialized classes in their field of choice. These classes are oftentimes brought to an end with the graduating seniors spending a semester working on a special project. For seniors in several different classes, these projects provided opportunities for learning and gaining experience.

In the Biomedical Academy, the projects this year focused on the Zika Virus. The projects and research covered a variety of zika-related topics, from cures for the disease to the methods it uses to spread.

Senior Blake Conway elaborated on his project.

“We genetically altered nematodes to where they would exhibit different phenotypes, or physical characteristics that they have,” he said.

The seniors in Pre-Engineering, on the other hand, had projects based around designing and building things.

Jerad Hudson described the steps involved with building his project, an electric caster board.

“First, we obviously went through 3D modeling,” he said. “And then we moved to actually building it using the welding that’s at the Votech.”

Marc Crook, another Pre-Engineering senior, talked about the decision-making behind his team’s project, a tablet-holding arm device.

“Well, we had a thought process of many different ideas,” he said. “The tablet arm was considered the best through all of them.”

The seniors had to present their projects as well. According to Conway, the biomed presentations took the form of a more open group presentation.

“Presenting was not too bad,” he said. “We got our posters set up, and people kind of had a walk-around, came by our booth, we’d explain our project to them.”

The Pre-Engineering seniors, on the other hand, presented their projects in a more public speaking-centric style. According to Hudson, this wasn’t a problem for him.

“Presentation for me was pretty easy, I just explained my product that I’m trying to make,” he said.

Most of the seniors, including Conway, feel that the projects provided them with good experience in their fields.

“It was a challenge at most times, but the end result was what we were expecting, so ultimately it was worth it,” Conway said. “We got to have a lot of experience that mostly just college students get to access, so it was a good opportunity.”

Hudson generally agreed with Conway’s opinion.

“I wouldn’t say it prepared me for future projects, but it definitely opened my eyes on how detailed you have to be, especially working with another department, especially welding or C&C [machining],” he said. “You have to have everything pretty precise, how you want it, and you actually have to go talk to them and create a relationship with them to get what you need done.”