Lockheed donates to engineering program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Troy-Pike Center for Technology’s Engineering program has just kicked off this year, and thanks to the help of one local industry, it’s off to a good start.

Lockheed Martin awarded the career center’s program $2,000 as part of a grant to further promote engineering growth in Pike County.

“Why it’s important is the manufacturing and engineering areas really support the economic growth of Pike County,” said Mel Schubert, operations site director for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Troy. “To have those students able to really get energized about math and science in high school helps them to launch their career.”

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And, hopefully, those careers will lead these students back to Pike County, where its industry base is diverse, Schubert said.

Scott Batson, engineering instructor for the career center, said he was notified of the grant approval Nov. 18.

How exactly the school will use the funds has not yet been determined, but Batson said it will assist in the program’s growth.

“I’m not sure exactly how we will spend it, but it will definitely help to expand the new program and allow me to purchase supplies to further education of my students,” Batson said.

The program, which is a Project Lead the Way pre engineering program, has 18 students this semester, but Batson said it is expected to grow as new students enroll in January.

“Most are coming back next semester for the principals of engineering class and a new group for the introduction class,” Batson said.

Since its beginning, students have completed several projects designed to enhance engineering skills.

The first was building a puzzle cube, which involved creating a design brief with it. The second was putting together a miniature train using computer software.

For their final project, students are working in groups with a virtual team to plan, design and market a product.

“It gives them a better taste of how engineers in the real world communicate,” Batson said.

The groups have decided to make a holiday ornament, candy dispenser and a locker organizer.

Batson said he looks forward to growing the program, with the help of Lockheed Martin.

“We’re looking forward to a bright future to help them be successful, regardless of what their plans are,” Batson said.