Schalmont students gear up for future

Twelve-year-old Josh Marthy likes to build things with Legos. He likes to draw, and he likes science, math and technology classes. He also considers himself an amateur inventor. He made an indoor golf set last summer.

But until civil engineer and county Legislator Angelo Santabarbara, R-Rotterdam, came into Marthy's seventh-grade math class on career day last week, Marthy didn't really know what an engineer does every day.

There are a lot more steps than you'd think on a building project with lots of measurements to check, said Marthy.

Marthy said when he gets to the high school, he might try to get involved with the district's Project Lead the Way program, for students interested in engineering, biomechanics, aeronautics and other applied math and science areas.

"I'm going to take as much as I can," Marthy said of his future tech and science course load.

Santabarbara, a member of the National Society of Engineers, said he thinks that educating middle school kids about the possibility of an engineering education is essential.

"There's a lot of schooling involved in becoming an engineer, and if you don't get on the right path early, it's hard to get back on it," said Santabarbara.

Santabarbara's presentation detailed the career paths of mechanical, civil and electrical engineers and walked Dave Vosburgh's math class through a hypothetical building project.

Vosburgh said he's invited Santabarbara to speak to his class for the past several years.

"Our school is very big into technology and engineering," said Vosburgh. "As a math teacher, I try to relate math to real-life experiences."

Vosburgh, a former adviser of the middle school engineering club, isn't alone in his mission to get kids excited about math, science and technology.

At a board of education meeting earlier this month, middle school technology teacher Thomas Borkowski gave a presentation on his Gateway to Technology program, which attempts to prepare students for high school technology courses with hands-on design projects.

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