Welcome to the Project Ventura blog on WordPress, and my first post. You’ve probably gone through a bunch of other girls’ entries, since this is due for everyone tomorrow, but my post is special. It’s by me. I’m Maya (Messinger, not Nunez) and I’m an aspiring mechanical engineer, but there are still over 3 years before I have to declare my major.
I first discovered my passion for engineering around 6th grade. I’d known that I liked math since 1st grade, when I tried to copy my mom’s handwriting to write a note to my teacher asking for extra homework. Obviously, addition can’t compare much to my current Pre-Calculus class, but numbers have always worked for me. Physics is likewise my favorite field in science, and I first encountered them together under the name “engineering” in 6th grade, in our STEM class, taught by the amazing teacher Mr. Christopher Murray. I loved building things (though I got a 40 on one project once… trying to make a paper table strong enough to support National Geographic anthologies) and programming robots. In 7th and 8th grade, our PLTW class (a continuation of STEM taught by Ms. Andrea Clark) was awesome, because we got to actually build things with cool stuff. Power tools – band saws, drill presses, hammers and nails. It seemed natural to go into the Engineering pathway at ARS after enjoying PLTW so much, and last year was really fun. I like 3D-modeling on our CAD program (basically, you design digital copies of something you’re going to make) and the precise calculations were right up my alley, if frustrating at times. Currently, my days are taken up by running, reading, school and homework, and endless playing of Tetris and Unblock Me.
This year looks daunting, and from what my now-junior friends say, is as bad as it looks. Our VENTURA challenge is a bit different from theirs – to remodel an entire 1977 Airstream Sovereign trailer and make it into a place for our teachers to hang – but the schedule Ms. Jo made is better. I have a great group; we’re called Mechanical Automotive Airstream Trailers (MAAT) Design Firm, derived from the first letters of our team members’ names: Maya, Alex, and Abby, with a T at the end for good measure. And to make the letters actually be an acronym. I really don’t think that we have a good idea of what we want to do so far, and it’s really not our decision, we’re just cheap labor to do the bidding of teachers and fulfill their wants. But really, the Airstream will have stuff that the teachers want and since we just conducted our first “client survey” with Ms. DiCuffa on Tuesday, we don’t really have a grasp on what the staff populous wants.
We’re going to model the actual Airstream trailer on Google Sketchup (a larger-scale 3D modeling program, better for buildings as opposed to Inventor) and then fill it in with things that the teachers request like a fridge, microwave, music speaker, couch… The theme is vintage, so we will try to stay with that idea, but our first milestone in the project is just to have a digital model of the trailer and its requested contents by January. Using the layout of whoever has the best design (based on a judges panel of engineering professionals), the designing of stuff like wallpaper and motif will be finished at the beginning of March, and that’s when we’ll incorporate some artistic license. Airstreams historically have a kind of club that you register to join and you can track where that specific vehicle has gone by looking up the number. Our Airstream was actually part of that club and has a number, so I was thinking of having a wallpaper of postcards and a travel theme. But that’s way ahead of where we are right now.
I’m a little scared of the judging and grades right now, but since we haven’t started much, I don’t think that the enormity of this project has sunk in yet. I think that this will be fun, and so far, it isn’t too stressful. I definitely look forward to leaving something for the school that will endure even after I graduate.