SELC creates innovations

Maker Faire promotes engineering passions

Allie Sukhman, staff writer

The STEM Maker Faire provides an opportunity for students in the Science Engineering Learning Community (SELC) to showcase their innovative engineering creations, junior Luke Chavez said. 

In Engineering, students choose a field they are passionate about, and in the Maker Faire, on May 19, they exploring different fields of engineering and apply their skills to projects, Michael Sinde, Career and Technical Education Teacher, said.

“The goal is to integrate what [students learned] in their science and engineering [classes] to solve a problem or build a skillset,” Sinde said. 

Chavez’s inspiration for his Maker’s Faire project began during the Covid-19 pandemic. His project is an automated, portable ventilator, powered by an Arduino, an open source electronics software, which facilitates air movement in and out of lungs, Chavez said. Air is pumped into the ventilator, aligning heartbeats and breathing patterns, he added. 

“When Covid-19 was a big problem, there was a ventilator shortage, so [my Maker Faire partner and I] wanted to come up with a solution to that problem,” Chavez said. “We decided to make a less expensive alternative that was [also] easier to run.”

Other engineering fields, including agricultural engineering, are explored throughout the Maker Faire process. Junior Braya Eggener’s project is an automatic irrigation system, which automatically waters plants.  

“We [put soil moisture] sensors in plants, and whenever the soil [moisture] level was too low, the [irrigation system] automatically waters it,” Eggener said. 

Junior Tali Gankin, inspired by an exhibition at Dubai’s “Museum of the Future,” focused on a project related to aerospace engineering. The project, self-titled “Bionic Flyonic,” featured a prototype of an airplane that implemented aerodynamics, Gankin explained. 

“[My partner and I studied] birds to improve sustainability in current planes so [planes could] use less fuel and travel faster,” Gankin said. 

Gankin’s favorite part of the Maker Faire is seeing what her peers created. 

“It is [reassuring to know that] everyone struggled [to create] an idea, [but] at the end of the day, we [succeeded through] the hard work of designing and idea-making,” Gankin said. 

Because engineering is trial and error, being able to problem solve was essential, Eggener said. While designing and creating projects, students needed to persevere through failure, Chavez explained. 

“[In] engineering, you have to be ready to fail [and] face roadblocks, but you [have to] keep going,” Chavez said. 

Not only does the Maker Faire promote collaboration, it allows students to prepare for a future in engineering, Gankin said. 

“The design process, idea-creating, and goal-setting are all skills that you need to learn to be a [successful] engineer, Gankin said.