New Engineering Program Provides Students with STEM Knowledge and Skills

Using a curriculum designed by Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a leading provider of K-12 STEM programs, Carroll’s engineering program offers students hands-on activities that enable them to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context.

Thirty students have enrolled in the program this academic year, and it is a diverse group – half are freshman, half are sophomores, and it is split evenly among girls and boys. Students in the program are now taking Introduction to Engineering Design. Next year, they will study Principles of Engineering.

Mr. Josh Ridenour is the director and lead instructor of the Engineering Program at Carroll. To prepare for the inaugural courses, he completed four weeks of rigorous training led by PLTW staff and master teachers from other schools. He describes the courses by saying, “It’s intense. The students are learning the design process, technical drawing, and computer-generated modeling. These are really good skills that I think colleges want their students to have and skills that employers would like to see.”

Designed as a four year-program, the first two years are focused on introductory coursework. After the second year, schools like Carroll have the flexibility to choose a pathway – depending on the needs and interests of the students in the program. Mr. Ridenour plans to use a combination of teacher and student input to design the third and fourth years of the program. Courses may include Computer Graphics, Civil Engineering, or Aerospace Engineering. In the fourth year, students will complete a yearlong capstone project.

Opportunities abound for students in the Engineering Program. Those who are most likely to excel are creative, imaginative, analytic, good with hands-on activities, precise with measurements and strong in mathematics. Engineering students have the opportunity to receive credits for college; their high school transcripts will indicate their participation in the Engineering Program, and upon completion, they will receive certification from Project Lead the Way.

As time goes on, Mr. Ridenour hopes more students choose the Engineering Program. Additionally, he would love to see a dedicated space for his students. He says, “We’re growing a workshop. We’re going to be using hand tools like saws and hammers, and we’re also going to be using computer software like Autodesk Inventor, which is used for 3D modeling. So one day I hope we have a dedicated space just for engineering students to complete some really amazing projects.”

Click here to learn more about the Engineering Program at Archbishop Carroll.