Above, Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Diana Trujillo inspires female students to make their own dreams come true.
More than 2,300 students from two dozen schools across L.A. Unified gathered recently at Francis Polytechnic Senior High School where they had the chance to interact with an all-female ensemble of NASA engineers and scientists.
“There are so many girls out there who have dreams of doing what I do now,” said Diana Trujillo, an immigrant from Bali, Colombia, who is now one of the lead aerospace engineers on the Mars Rover project. “They need role models. They need to see that no matter who you are or what you want to do in life, you can do it. Nobody can stop you.”
Three automotive students from Van Nuys High School won $30,000 in scholarships and prizes after capturing first prize in the UTI Top Tech Challenge, which tests the knowledge and skills needed by today’s automotive technicians.
Jaspal Dhillon and Andrea Vasquez edged out their classmate, Ivan Reyes to take home the top prize. These students showed immense knowledge in hands on applications and critical thinking skills.
Van Nuys High school was one of the top 10 schools to compete in the UTI Top Tech Challenge, which was held Saturday in Long Beach. Two-member teams compete in a series of hands-on events that test their knowledge of automotive tools, parts and operating systems.
Their legs pumping as the music pounded and sweat poured down their faces, sixth-graders at Sepulveda Middle School and Gifted Magnet tested out the stationary cycles in their state-of-the-art spin center, which opened this week thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation.
The nonprofit foundation, which is affiliated with UCLA Health, has funded more than 100 of the centers in L.A. Unified with the goals of promoting fitness and fighting obesity at underserved schools.
For the 1,400 kids at the North Hills campus, the spin bikes are a new and exciting addition to their physical education classes.
Nearly two decades after he co-founded a fledgling robotics program at Monroe Senior High, engineering teacher Lewis Chappelear and his colleagues were honored Monday by the state Department of Education for developing a revolutionary academy that teaches core academics and high-tech job skills to thousands of at-risk kids.
Monroe’s Engineering and Clean Technology Academy, which evolved from that early robotics program, was named a California Distinguished Academy, the first time an L.A. Unified school has earned the honor. Chappelear and several of the dozen other teachers in the academy accepted the award at a ceremony in Sacramento.
“Being named a California Distinguished Academy has been many years in the making, and I’m so proud to that we’re the first in LAUSD to receive this honor,” Chappelear said. “I share this with my amazing team at Monroe and the thousands of students who have come through our doors.”
About 350 students are enrolled in the academy, a four-year program that keeps them together in a cohort as they matriculate through rigorous honors and Advanced Placement courses like math, English and World History. Many of the students are the second or third in their families to join the program, encouraged by the success of their older siblings and cousins.
Fifteen students from the Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) Magnet at Olive Vista Middle School recently competed in the SkillsUSA Team Engineering Challenge at the L.A. Trade Tech College where they took the top prizes.
Of the 20 teams from five area middle schools who took part, three teams representing the Olive Vista SkillsUSA Engineering Club swept the gold, silver and bronze awards.
Sabrina Loesh, who teaches engineering at Olive Vista and sponsors the Engineering Club, helped lead the teams to victory.
“The best part of watching my engineering students win the three medals was seeing them smile with pride,” she said. “They walked out of the competition room with their heads held high and a well-earned sense of confidence. These teams have worked tirelessly every day after school to practice for the challenge, and all of the intense preparation clearly paid off.”