GULF SHORES — "A student doesn't know what they can be excited about until they're exposed to it," said Kevin Corcoran, President, Gulf Shores Board of Education. He spoke those words during …
GULF SHORES — "A student doesn't know what they can be excited about until they're exposed to it," said Kevin Corcoran, President, Gulf Shores Board of Education.
He spoke those words during the grand opening celebration for the Volkert Center for Applied Design and Dream Lab at Gulf Shores High School on Monday, March 7. The new space came to life through a partnership between the GSHS Engineering and Computer Science Academy and Applied Design College Preparatory Program and Volkert Engineering. Through a grant and the ongoing support from Volkert, who participated in the conception and renovation of the space, Gulf Shores High students have a place where they can construct their dreams and ideas into reality.
"We have a lot of fun in here," said Daniel Paul, Applied Design, Engineering and Computer Science Teacher, GSHS. "All of this started with a vision to help raise up engineers in this country. The United States imports so many engineers, and having come from an engineering background, trying to find people in the United States was very difficult.
"So, when we sat down around the table and we talked about what was needed in industry, one of the things we realized was we needed more diversity in engineering. More female engineers. More African American engineers," Paul said. "So, we wanted a program that would be very inclusive to help bring diverse candidates into the hiring pipeline, and I think that's what this program has set out to do."
Around the room during the grand opening, students demonstrated their personal projects, displaying all the things they were working on. Projects included a VR station with equipment purchased through a donation from Volkert, operated by Cookie Grover, Sophia Sobol and Claire Colvin; an app that teaches users sign language, developed by Kailyn Opperud, who won third place in the Governor's App Challenge; an interactive electronic toy design created on the Arduino microcontroller platform and coded in C++, created by Caleb Rawls; an NFL app designed by Sean Kirby; the Wall-E Project from Kevin Ellis; Python coding on drones and robots in the Dream Lab from Aaron Sears; a Capstone Project over drone mapping Laguna Cove shoreline from Austin Sparks and Mason Reffitt; and Amara Morales with the Applied Design College Preparatory Program.