Student Perspectives: Industrial Mechanics & Welding projects challenge students to use their math skills
My name is Whitney McPherson and I’m a homeschooled junior. My name is Casie McGranaghan and I’m a Hartford High School junior. We are both a part of the Industrial Mechanics and Welding program at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC). So far this year, we have learned lots of new skills in the shop like Mig, Tig, Stick and Oxy Acetylene gas welding. We have also learned how to use plasma cutters, milling machines and the lathe. Math is a constant challenge in this program because we use it for almost everything we do, and neither of us feel that great at it yet. However, after getting help from Hutch (our teacher) and from other classmates, math is becoming easier and faster.
In addition to regularly assigned work like fabricating an electrical panel, and assembling hydraulic systems, we have also both had the opportunity to work on some pretty cool independent projects. We created a lamp made of spare drive train parts from a bicycle, a working guitar fabricated from sheet metal, and now we are working together to add a 90cc four wheeler engine to an old bike that we fixed up. After we finish the bike, we might work on more artistic, sculptural things like a dragonfly, fabricating a custom remote control vehicle, or we might help out with building the experimental helicopter.
One of the hardest parts about this class for us at first was that we are both pretty shy, but this class has helped us come out of our comfort zones. At first we were nervous, but now we aren’t because our class is very welcoming and we have all become like one big family. We help each other out whenever someone needs it and we also teach each other new things. Being the only girls in the class can be hard at times, but coming here has helped us realize women can do anything a man can do. We hope that when other girls come and tour this program they aren’t afraid to join because they think it’s a class just for boys. Whether you are a boy or a girl, this class is for hands-on people who are motivated and want to learn. We both love coming here every day and hearing the machines working, seeing our friends and learning new skills. We hope to have an opportunity to work for Hypertherm after high school or to use the manufacturing skills we have learned in this class somewhere else.