What I Learned On My Summer Vacation
Once summer vacation starts, school and career options are usually far from students' minds, unless of course you're a PTECH student. Jadzia Graves, an 11th-grade student at Kuna High School, spent two weeks of her summer break at Aerospace Camp at North Idaho College. Jadzia not only earned college credit, but at only 16 years of age has a clear vision for her future.
My name is Jadzia Graves, I am junior at Kuna High School, and I have completed two semesters with the PTECH Aerospace program. Before joining PTECH I hadn’t thought of Aerospace as something to go into, but now I know what I want to do for my career and it is all thanks to the Aero Camp I had the honor of attending.
The two week camp was held at North Idaho College of which the primary objectives were to take an aerospace composites course and to provide an opportunity so see some of the different jobs that are available to us. The other students and I had spent the spring semester taking an online course titled Aero-120: Introduction to Composites. While we were up at the college we took a condensed version of the Aero-121: Composite Methods Fabrication/Applications course. Composites is using two or more materials in conjunction to make a stronger material. In the class we worked mainly with carbon fiber and fiberglass.
Taking the class we learned a lot of information from our two instructors: Trevor Budge and Mike McGinnis. Both of our instructors were very helpful and I don’t think we would have been able to complete everything without them. We had a series of projects that we worked on throughout the two weeks. Our first one was just a simple fiberglass plate to allow us to learn how the material works and how to apply the resin and to just get us used to working with fiberglass. We then made a tensile strength bar which was composed of fiberglass and a foam core, the first two projects we did were to prepare us for the bookend we made using foam and fiberglass.
After completing the bookend we started on the harder projects. The first step was learning how to properly apply a vacuum bag of which we did six mini projects before we were allowed to start the next projects. The NACA Scoop was one of them; this one was made out of fiberglass and was made using a mold. The NACA plate was made out of prepreg carbon fiber. Prepreg materials are just materials that already have been impregnated with resin and are ready to be applied.
We also learned how to make splash molds out of things by making a splash mold of a saucer. For our final project we made a carbon fiber pipe.
Being the overachiever that I am, I also managed to make a model boat out of fiberglass. One of the other students, Nate Stuart, made a fiberglass long-board with a honeycomb core.
Over the two weeks we were there, we managed to learn a lot of information, but it wasn’t all work and no play. We managed to do a lot of other things like going to the beach, game nights, going to Tripleplay, touring Aerocet and the Spokane International Control Tower, and we also went to the Bird’s Aviation Museum. My favorite thing that we did while up there was touring the Spokane International Control Tower. While at the tower I decided that I am going to be an Air Traffic Controller after learning about their job and what they do. I'm very grateful to have had this opportunity!