A: The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nations most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 (121 for original, 20 for fine arts, 20 for CTE) students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. Through West-MEC I was able to apply for candidacy in this years Presidential Scholars Program. About 80 students statewide applied and I was one of the five selected to be a candidate from the state of Arizona. The overall Presidential Scholars program includes a CTE component, a fine arts component, and the original academic achievement component. I was selected for the CTE component. Now, amongst 250 other candidates nationwide, I hope to be selected as one of the final 20 scholars.
Q: Tell us about the aviation program that you are involved in at West-MEC?
A: The Aviation Program at West-MEC is designed to prepare its student for a carrier in either General aviation or Commercial aviation. The ultimate goal of the program is to walk way with an Airframe and Power plant industry certificate that allows a person to legally work on FAA certificated aircraft. It is an in depth program that teaches skills that can extend far beyond just aircraft. Subjects such as Electricity and Comm/Nav can really prepare a person to further their education in the field of Avionics. Other subjects that can be expanded upon include Hydraulics, Power plant (Turbine and Reciprocating), Welding, and many more. It is a program that is extremely valuable in terms of content application.
Q: Is this something that you would like to pursue as a career?
A: I intend to pursue Aerospace engineering as my career. Specifically the design and construction of manned Spacecraft. I knew that I would need a background on Aircraft design and construction, so I applied for West-MEC and now I greatly look forward to adapting what I have learned to build spacecraft. I have been accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where I intend to double major in Aerospace Engineering and Propulsion.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: In my free time I enjoy fixing things that are broken and figuring out just exactly how stuff around the garage works. I really like to take things apart, learn the system, and then reassemble it. If not those things, then I’m usually working on my Jeep. She’s a 1995 Wrangler built for off-roading. There’s always something to work on. I do also thoroughly enjoy going off- road with said Jeep.
Q: What are your plans for this summer?
A: This summer I intend to be working for a General Aviation Aircraft Maintenance shop. I recently received my Airframe Certificate that allows me to work on at the aircraft, but not the engine. I am currently learning the engine component of aircraft at West-MEC. I mainly just want to shift from student to practitioner over the summer.