By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – High-tech and teens permeated the Melvindale High School gym April 17 during the annual Engineering Day, as engineers and other technical professionals fanned the flames of students’ scientific imagination.
Senior Halzeh Aldora stepped out of a go-kart in which he was zipping around the gym moments earlier to explain his love of engineering, a fascination he said was first nurtured by his father. While his father fixes vehicles in a body shop, Aldora said he might want to expand his interest to vehicle design and engineering.
He said he remembers disassembling small appliances as a child to see how the devices worked.
Also channeling his engineering interest into a wheeled wonder was Hamam Alkhatib, 17, whose mini-bike was built from scratch – not a kit – starting with metal he cut, formed and welded into fenders. He then cut and welded more metal to form the body.
“The I just bought parts and put them in together,” Alkhatib said, non-plussed by his achievement.
He said he learned about mechanical devices by designing and building motorized toys, including a miniature boat.
“Engineering is my hobby,” Alkhatib said. “Hopefully it will become my career.”
He said events like the school’s Engineering Day helps him to learn other people’s ideas and perspectives of engineering, and it “gives me more ideas.”
Senior Hamad Alghaithi, a self-taught programmer, explained the work he was doing with Python, a high-level programming language, followed by fellow student Saleh Said, who was quick to show and share his “better birdhouse,” with a windmill generating energy to light up miniature bulbs, to interested onlookers. The windmill was battery powered for indoor demonstration purposes.
Visitor and BASF engineer Adebisi Adesiyan said he enjoyed interacting with students interested in exploring engineering through hands-on projects, and hopes to bring select students to BASF in Wyandotte to expand their curiosity and scientific interest.
The boys weren’t the only students excited by the event. Sophomore Amber Morley and freshman Yaribel Lagares said they talked to visiting professionals and explored different areas of interest, including the health care professionals who were first-time visitors to the event this year.
Melvindale High School engineering teacher and event organizer Nahed Bizzari said she was pleased with the day’s outcome, evidenced by her students’ excitement and the interactions she saw with the students and the visiting engineers and other technical professionals.
“I am hoping my kids will go outside the box of Melvindale High School,” Bizzari said. “I want them to see the world. I want them to see a bunch of universities, especially in engineering and medical, because this year we added the Medical Club.”
Bizzari said she wants to learn which areas interest her students the most, which she hopes will help the students begin to map their post-high school college and career plans.
Bizzari said she is proud of the work the school does to prepare students to consider careers in engineering and other technical fields, and to encourage them to pursue those degree fields in college.
She said many of their graduates are more confident in college because they learned engineering fundamentals in high school, something some of their peers are learning for the first time in college.
“The don’t feel the gap that high school is way different from the world outside,” Bizzari said.
Bazzari currently teaches engineering and robotics, and next year she will be teaching mechatronics, the branch of engineering which focuses the engineering of mechanical and electrical systems as well.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)