Building relationships through engineering, architecture classes

For 22 years, Ted Vaughan has been teaching students how to solve problems through Engineering Design and creating floor plans for homes and other buildings through Architectural Design, but that’s not all he did while he’s been here.

“I didn’t [originally] decide I wanted to be a high school teacher for engineering and architecture.” Vaughan said. “My forte is graphics and while I’ve done a lot of different things [with that], the engineering and architecture programs kind of fell to me. [Teachers are] moved around wherever we are needed and this is where I ended up. I’m happy with it even though I still really enjoy graphics.”

Although Vaughan may believe that other teachers could do just as well as he does, the students of his engineering and architectural design class think otherwise.

“He’s really helpful and not so strict which helps me because I work better in a calm environment,” sophomore John Imperial said. “He’s very understanding when we have trouble trying to figure out how [programs] work.”

Students are pleased with Vaughan’s understanding of the programs and his ability to help them when they are confused about what to do.

“Mr.Vaughan has done a lot and he helps the class when it’s too difficult to figure something out within [Revit],” sophomore Joseph Robinson said. “He will be there and be able to help me easily within one or two minutes.”

This year Vaughan has invited some of his current engineering students to participate and create a design for the BEST robotics competition this fall.

“Vaughan asked me just a few weeks ago if I would be interested in making a robot design for BEST robotics,” Imperial said. “Since then, I’ve slowly been working on a design for the competition. I feel like this will help me learn more about the stuff I enjoy doing and I think that building a robot and getting it to solve a problem will benefit me in the long run.”

Vaughan believes that his engineering students will greatly benefit from this experience in designing and building a robot to compete this fall.

“In a lot of different ways, BEST robotics could benefit my engineering students,” Vaughan said. “You have to design things mechanically to understand all of the elements to be able to design and build a robot to make it work. It’s also very important to understand the electronic portion of the design because you have to have a way to instruct the robot and guide it to do what you want it to do. For students who are interested in mechanical engineering or mechanical design, and electrical engineering or electrical design it’s a great activity and a great program.”

Although Vaughan has few students that go through the architectural program and become architects, he believes that those who choose a different path still benefit from the experience in taking the class.

“Students that go through something else, benefit from architectural design simply by knowing what to put into a house design,” Vaughan said. “[Students] will benefit in the future for knowing what’s appropriate for a house design or a residential design and what’s a good design or bad design.”

However, some of Vaughan’s students are really looking forward to becoming an architect and using Revit as extra experience to use in the workplace.

“So far I’ve taken his architecture and his engineering class and I’ve enjoyed the architecture class more so far,” Robinson said. “I enjoy working with computers and doing a lot of stuff with these [type of] programs. Learning the programs is interesting as well. I found that it’s nice to work with these programs and use the computers because I’m actually fairly interested in following this kind of career path later in life. Whether I’m an architect or IT, I think I could actually legitimately do [either] as a job.”

Just like Vaughan has taught students what should be in a house design and how to apply their engineering skills, the students have taught him plenty of things about the new technology that continuously comes out.

“Every day my students teach me something new,” Vaughan said. “One thing about computers is that they constantly change and adults won’t always keep up with the changes so I’ve learned lots of things from students. In my 22 years here I’ve seen students produce things on these programs that just make my jaw drop, from incredible graphic arts to unbelievable engineering and architectural drawing and designs.”