On a Steady Path to STEM, Stopping in Tarrytown

Photos are credit New NY Bridge Outreach/NYSTA.

photo 1Former aerospace engineer Bob Wilson was talking about the trip his Ramapo Indian Hills High School class took recently.

Wilson teaches one of the electives within the school’s University Program in Engineering and Design (UPED), a four-year discipline focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)-oriented electives in addition to required courses.

To coincide with his engineering seminar, he said, “I was looking for a high-impact engineered project in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area and found the bridge project.”

University Programs provide selected high school students with a unique four-year high school experience that includes specialized study and full participation in their school’s academic, athletic, and extracurricular life.

photo 2It was it was his and fellow UPED teacher Jim Drobinske’s 11th- and 12th-grade students’ first exposure to the project, he said. A Rockland County native, Wilson said he’s one of us: drivers who turn to look at the new bridge as it takes shape.

“I think it’s fascinating how the bridge is going up,” he remarked. Students were interested and engaged and asked a lot of questions of the Thruway Authority’s quality control engineer.

After a presentation at the Outreach Center the group of 25 went to the Tarrytown viewing area.

“Some students are fascinated by the pilings and how they’re set on the Nyack side, where the bedrock could not be reached by pilings, and about the friction system the bridge builders used to get a secure piling on the foundation,” he said.

photo 3Others want to know how the new bridge is being built, how cars will be diverted to the new span, and how the current bridge will be dismantled.

Wilson said he read the proposals from the bridge builders. ““I worked on aircraft electronics proposals and I am amazed at how large the proposed costs were for the new bridge proposal.”

UPED’s students “are learning a great deal about problem-solving disciplines, which will help them choose a college track,” he said, “and many are interested in enhanced STEM fields.” A return trip is planned for next year.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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