Engineering Academy Students Present Capstone Projects

At the culmination of PCA’s Engineering Academy, students aim to solve problems in the real-world problems by conceptualizing, designing and building solutions in the Academy’s capstone course, Engineering Design and Development (EDD). This fourth-year course allows seniors to build upon the knowledge and skills they’ve learned since their ninth-grade year in PCA’s Engineering Academy.

As one of the final assignments of their high school career, ten engineering students presented a finished prototype of the work they’d spent the year perfecting to a room of school administrators, faculty, staff, and industry professionals. 

Quick Dump Grass Grabber
Austin Eagerton, Joesph Penton, Michael McCarty, Colton Smith, and Garrett Redman

Every spring, people struggle to empty their lawn mower’s grass catchers for disposal. Whether the grass is wet and sticking to the inside of the bag or the actual bag is too big for the person trying to operate it, emptying grass can be time-consuming and difficult. To solve the problem, they designed a grass bag that can quickly and easily be emptied and with minimal effort utilizing a custom-built bag with plunger plate and rod. 

Traffic Light Sound Meter
Jackson Graham & Aaron Ziegler

PCA’s lunchroom gets loud during peak times throughout the day, but there is no efficient way to signal to students about lowering their voices without teachers raising theirs, so this duo created a sound controlled traffic light that signaled to students when the room’s noise reached a predetermined decibel level. When the signal’s light changed to red, the students knew to lower their voices until it returned to green – an acceptable noise level.

Easy Hoist
Ryan Hatfield, Parker Reed, and Matthew Irsik

Climbing a ladder while simultaneously carrying materials extremely hard and dangerous. This group designed an electric hoist that provided a way to safely lift objects up a ladder to allow the user to use both hands while climbing. While there are similar products using an extension ladder and a commercial forklift-type hoist, there was no solution for an everyday consumer using a step ladder. 

“These students brought fresh, innovative prospectives to age-old problems,” said George Chapman, CTC Engineering’s Senior Manager of Operations. “All presentations provided out-of-the-box thinking for their solutions and final product.”

While all these students have been involved in PCA’s Engineering Academy for more than four years, not all of them are choosing to pursue this discipline after graduation. Members of this class are planning to study political science, journalism, computer science, digital marketing and even begin careers as licensed welders and mechanics. The problem-solving skills and design thinking required to be successful in this program translate into every facet of life as PCA continues to prepare Christian leaders for life beyond campus. 

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