The MVTHS Engineering program is primarily for students who plan to pursue a 4-year engineering degree, but it is also for anyone simply wants to have a better understanding of how the electrical and mechanical things in their life work. As part of the program, students gain a working understanding of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, but more importantly improve their ability to take on and complete challenging self-directed projects.
A student’s experience in the shop begins with a basic understanding of both the theory and practice of engineering. This is developed mostly through completing a series of electrical, software and mechanical challenges which expose students to the range of tools, components and materials used in the shop. Students then progress to defining their own projects and constructing working models of these projects, essentially learning to work toward a proof of concept. Finally students are expected to take their working models and learn to develop a working master prototype, a design that is both commercially robust and consumer-level user friendly.
By challenging students to work toward their own success they develop critical life skills such as confidence, perseverance and problem solving skills.
Visit the shop any day and you will see students focused on a wide variety of projects that have never before been completed in this shop. By taking on projects for which there is no clear path or solution they are developing their confidence for real-world challenges.
Students are expected to complete multiple challenges and projects during their time in the shop. Some projects can take a year or more to complete. Through repeated experience, students learn that moments of frustration lead to moments of success and that there are often many more of the former than the latter.
The program offers daily opportunities for students to exercise their problem solving skills. In addition, we discuss with students and model the best strategies for both solving individual problems and for laying out a long term plan for completing a project.
The shop includes wide range of tools that rival those found at university and professional engineering environments. The main lab area includes 16 professional engineering workstations equipped with CAD tools for designing complex mechanical parts and electronic circuits as well as software environments for programming embedded devices. They also include bench power supplies, digital soldering stations and digital storage oscilloscopes. In addition the main lab area has one 50W laser cutter, a mini CNC mill for making circuit boards and two 3D printers.
A separate mechanical shop area includes two metal working lathes (one CNC) and four metal working mills (three CNC) as well as a CNC router, bandsaw, drill press, plasma cutter and waterjet cutting machine.