9/30/15 EA drafting students capitalize on unique opportunity

Eastern Alamance High School students use computer-aided design software in Michael Brumble’s classroom on Friday, Sept. 25. Pictured are students Richard Strausser, Eric Byrd, Joe Cutlip, Hayden Alvis, Savannah Harris, IsabelAllen, Johan Ochoa, and Kyle Murphy.

Photographs by Charlie Pogacar/The Mebane Enterprise

Eastern Alamance High School students use computer-aided design software in Michael Brumble’s classroom on Friday, Sept. 25. Pictured are students Richard Strausser, Eric Byrd, Joe Cutlip, Hayden Alvis, Savannah Harris, IsabelAllen, Johan Ochoa, and Kyle Murphy.

 

EA drafting students capitalize on unique opportunity
By Charlie Pogacar, Staff Writer The Mebane Enterprise 9/30/15  
Reprinted with permission.  

Brumble helps student Lucas Embry.  
Brumble helps student Lucas Embry.  

Eastern Alamance drafting teacher Michael Brumble’s students are for the first time participating in Project BauHow, an initiative designed to help motivated teenagers become familiar with architectural engineering.

The name is derived from Bauhaus, a famous German school, and the term “know-how.”

Though the student version of the computer-aided design software (AutoCAD) is free, not every student has a home computer that can support the state-of-the-art technology.

According to the project’s website, “Up to 60% of North Carolina high school students, depending on location, are in families without the means to provide a CAD-level computer at home... this severely limits career opportunities especially in rural areas.” Project BauHow provides home computers to a number of students at rural high schools throughout the state, and then has students participate in a contest in modernist housing design.

Knowing Eastern Alamance was a strong candidate for the project and liking the goals of the initiative, Brumble decided to apply for Project BauHow’s grant.

“The initiative is to foster young high school students into becoming interested in being an architecture engineer or architect,” Brumble, who has 33 years of drafting experience, said. Brumble applied to the program, but he didn’t get his hopes up.

“There were only eleven schools selected,” Brumble said. “And out of the eleven, there’s only three new schools. The other schools had been selected previous years and they reapplied. Most schools, typically if you keep applying and you meet the same criteria, you get to participate again.

And the criteria is mostly schools that are not in major metropolitan areas, or schools who might have a higher group of lower-income students.”

For Brumble, finding out Eastern would participate in this year’s project was a birthday gift of sorts.

“I’m sitting on the beach over the summer” Brumble said, “It’s my birthday and I get a phone call from BauHow to tell me I received the initiative.”

Brumble was ecstatic.

But the birthday surprise also meant Brumble had tough decisions to make, as he would have to select 20 students – 10 in the first semester and 10 in the second – to receive the computers BauHow provides for its participants that may not be able to afford a home computer that can run AutoCAD.

“That’s why it makes it tough,” Brumble said, “to select 20 students out of 120.”

Brumble narrowed down his selections at the beginning of the year by polling students about their needs. He asked them a series of questions regarding their ability to access the program on a home computer and went from there.

The drafting students he selected, in addition to their interested peers, then participate in a design contest that takes up most of the school year – they find out the parameters of a modern housing design in November and have to submit their project by the end of April. The winner from each school earns a scholarship to a free week of design camp at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

The prospect of having reliable access to the software already has students at Eastern
Alamance excited.

“I really like math and engineering and fixing stuff,” sophomore Lucas Embry said.
“Solving problems is something I find challenging and exciting. That’s why I was interested in Project BauHow.”

Particularly attractive to Embry was the potential to attend NC State’s design camp, partially because it is hosted by his father’s alma mater.

“We are big ‘State’ fans,” Embry said with a grin. But Embry was mostly interested in the opportunity to further his knowledge in the field and perhaps one day turn it into a career, meaning Project BauHow is already implanting its desired effect to inspire an interest in architecture in students like Embry.

“Architecture is definitely something I would pursue,” Embry said. “You see it everyday. It’s something you can effect and really change peoples’ lives. I can help people with a structure that they need or want. That’s something interesting about the field of architecture.”

“It’s great for the kids. And that’s what we’re here for... the kids,” Brumble
said, “to give them a chance to be progressive. This is a great avenue.”