A group of aspiring engineering students from El Paso’s Canutillo High School visited White Sands Missile Range’s Survivability, Vulnerability and Assessment Directorate to get hands on experience in their potential job fields May 27.“They were exposed to various fields of engineering,” said David Swanson, with SVA.
The students, who ranged in age from 15 to 18, have expressed interest in engineering, specifically mechanical. Canutillo High School Engineering Technology Instructor Hector Acosta said he also invited senior students who were looking into going into the Army. Acosta said he wanted to invite the seniors to let them know that they can join the Army, continue their studies in engineering and incorporate both fields into one role.
“The intent was to expose my engineering students to engineering applications. The kids really liked it,” Acosta said of his students. “My students now understand that math is important.”
The students visited several different facilities throughout the organization, which included the Near Strike Lightning Facility, the Rapid Response Lab, and the Test Platform Solar Furnace. The activities consisted of soldering, resistors onto test boards, jamming radios, and solving word problems and inputting it into a circuit board.
“We tried to keep it as hands on as possible,” Swanson said.
Acosta said he makes it a point to visit engineering facilities throughout the area to let students know that they don’t have to go out of town to get a good job. Acosta said they most recently visited a copper refinery in El Paso.
“We have local jobs waiting for them,” Acosta said. “The school administration thinks it was a value added to our school.”
Acosta said the students were really impressed with all of the hands on activities they were able to take part in. He said it made his job of trying to convince students that math is essential, easier.
“This field trip was one the best I had enjoyed in a long time, because of what I saw and learned, everything was amazing,” said Christopher Frayre, a Canutillo High School student.
Acosta said he had never visited a military facility that used engineering rather than manpower (Soldiers) as a defense mechanism for the Army. Acosta said he hopes to return to the installation with more students in the upcoming years.