Latrobe Students Participate in the Young Engineers Program

Karley Owens, Reporter

Greater Latrobe High School in conjunction with Kennametal corporation, has created the thriving Young Engineers program. “Students get the opportunity to see first-hand what an engineer does while also learning various engineering concepts,” said supervisor Mrs. Pompelia. Through attending lectures by Kennametal employees and participating in numerous projects and field trips, students learn how to shine bright in the field of science, math, and technology during a 15-week cycle.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Young Engineers go to Kennametal Technology center. At Kennametal, students are given a “ problem” and, in groups, it is their job is to create a product to solve the issue. Junior Brandon McGannon calls it “Concept- to- finished product.” Recently, some of the engineers redesigned standard crutches to make them more user friendly and/or comfortable. Other students designed a pizza cutter that makes pizza easier to cut
After the groups create the product, the students then attend a “gate meeting” where they meet with the employees at Kennametal to critique or discuss the finished product.
When the engineers are not at Kennametal, they attend field trips to nearby factories or plants. Seniors Johnny Graziano, Jess Tatone, and Madysen Stauffer said that a recent trip to a factory in Solon, Ohio was the most beneficial so far.
Graziano enjoyed the trip. He said, “I got a chance to see everything that was talked about in class.” The students got a chance to see CADD and teamwork being applied in the factory setting.
Tatone agreed, “It was beneficial to see how the different parts of engineering create the different field.”
Stauffer said, “It was neat to see electronic manufacturing in the factory because that is what I am interested in.” Visiting factories lets the students see what they have learned being applied in a real-world environment.

Students involved in the program also gain experience interviewing. The students get the opportunity to do a “mock” interview with Kennametal employees. The students have to dress in appropriate business attire as they demonstrate their best qualities to these interviewers; much like a real-life situation. In recent years, graduates like Dylan Pal have gained internships because of a prime performance during the interview.
Young engineers isn’t all about building products, teamwork, and experience; it is also about exploration. Some of the students took the class to find out more about engineering so that they could make a decision on whether to pursue a certain field, or engineering in general. Graziano said, “I planned on being an engineer but, I needed to decide what branch.”
Tatone said, “I didn’t know what engineering was, so I took the class to participate and gain a better understanding of it.”
Stauffer said “I wasn’t sure about my major, so I wanted to make sure that [engineering] was what I truly wanted to do.”
Through taking this class, students will gain knowledge and will have a better understanding of the different areas of the field, what engineering is all about, and what it takes to become an engineer.
“Graduates who continue to take engineering courses in college say that the Young Engineers programs mirrors some of their college level work and it gives them an advantage in their classes,” said Pompelia. This allows students to know what to expect in the coming years and it allows them to know for sure if engineering is the right field for them.
According to McGannon, “ [Young engineers] is a real world application that is different than the regular classroom.” These students dress the part and become engineers in training until 3:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. The time and effort put into the program can only benefit their future.