In our community and thousands like it, there’s no shortage of worthy causes in need of help. Behind every cause there is a nonprofit raising awareness and working to fix a small rip in our social fabric. In the case of Power Mountain, our cause is to enrich the education pipeline with experienced students capable of maintaining America’s preeminence in science and engineering.
Volunteers working in STEM fields are the ones who can pass down to students in the pipeline a clear reality about the many challenges ahead. I view student ignorance on college life and STEM careers as a small rip in our education fabric that communities can repair with STEM volunteers. With that in mind, I started Power Mountain Engineering for three personal reasons:
- It concerns me that 50% of well-intended students, who enroll in college as engineering freshmen, switch majors by the end of their sophomore year1. That seems a huge waste of time and money based on misconceptions about the engineering curriculum and its required commitment. Power Mountain offers high school students a challenging project led by volunteers who know what it takes to make it in engineering. Your skilled instruction and guiding mentorship can help prevent this 50% crisis BEFORE families spend a fortune in misdirected tuition.
- There is no shortage of criticism over STEM education in our public schools2. Some indicators about college readiness and America’s international standing are quite disturbing. Most of all, I’m concerned about the quality and character of those students in the education pipeline that feed America’s engine of research and innovation. Rather than criticize our schools and teachers, who do an impossible job every day, I wanted to start an organization to help ambitious science and engineering students grow in an afterschool setting. Moreover, I wish to tap into the rich technology base unique to our community and bring those energetic people into the school to benefit both students and teachers.
- I never tire of learning new technologies and building new things. Naturally, my professional life requires me to focus on just the needs of my various employers, but as a PME volunteer, I have the freedom to engage with students to do something exotic and completely awesome, while having fun with other volunteers who feel the same!
If you share in these motivations, please consider joining us! We bring career knowledge and personal power to worthy students at a critical moment in their education.
How it Works
We welcome all kinds of volunteers – technical and non-technical – to be part of the team! Some volunteers prefer to work directly with students, while others like working behind the scenes to provide organizational or manufacturing services without student contact. Some volunteers enjoy guest lecture spots, while others like providing a few nights of hands-on instruction (welding, coding). All of our volunteers come and go as they please; there is no minimum time commitment.
A typical project requires 100 to 110 hours of team meetings. On a two-semester schedule, students and volunteers meet one night each week for 2 hours/night. On a one-semester schedule, we meet twice each week for 3 hours/night. The choice of schedule is up to the students and volunteers, and with school administration approval. Selection of the schedule and project are decided during the fall Kickoff meeting held in the Community Room of Poudre Valley REA during the third week in September. Please browse the project pages and vote for your favorites and/or suggest a project you would like us to do.
At Power Mountain, we show that dedicated high-school students can rise to a college-level educational experience by tapping into the vast reservoir of community knowledge and experience. We use existing school facilities to bring together career-minded students with STEM professionals and other talented adults interested in STEM education. By working together as a team, the students and adult advisors learn the technology necessary to build an exciting showcase machine that may inspire other students to be daring about their education, too.
How to Find Out More
It’s easy! Sign up for our Newsletter to remain fully informed on…
- Upcoming events, such as fundraising activities and public demos.
- New projects added to our growing collection
- Date and time for our fall-semester Kickoff meeting at Poudre Valley REA
How to Sign Up
If Power Mountain Engineering intrigues you, please visit the Volunteer Interest Form. Your information will remain in strict confidence. Completing the form is the first step toward volunteer participation but without obligation.
1Brandin Geisinger and D. Raj Raman, “Why They Leave: Understanding Student Attrition from Engineering Majors,” Research Institute for Studies in Education, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 2013 http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1890&context=abe_eng_pubs
2“Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century: National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, The National Academies Press, ISBN: 0-309-65442-4, (2007) http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11463.html