Deepest congratulations to Amir
Abo-Shaeer, inspiration to the next generation of engineers and new recipient
of a $500,000 no-strings-attached MacArthur Genius Grant.
Abo-Shaeer was selected for his ground-breaking work as a physics teacher and founder of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, a model of the kind of education that can dramatically change students' lives. The school within a school in Santa Barbara, Calif., delivers a rigorous applied science curriculum that integrates physics, engineering and math; hands-on building projects; and competitions like FIRST Robotics. DPEA has managed the rare feat of attracting young women to engineering education – they make up approximately half the DPEA student body, well above the national average in advanced sciences.
“Abo-Shaeer’s novel and effective model of science education is instilling a passion for the physical sciences in young men and women and is contributing to the preparation of the next generation of scientists and engineers for the twenty-first century,” says the foundation.
The DPEA program is weaving entrepreneurship and business into its programming and building a new 12,000-square foot engineering campus, which will be a far cry from its current 900 square feet. The campus will include a machine shop, prototype shop, computer lab, conference room, and three classrooms. Abo-Shaeer’s team is hoping to triple enrollment and turn fewer heartbroken students away.
We’d also like to give a shout out to DPEA’s FIRST Robotics team, “Team 1717,” also known as the D’Penguineers, winners of multiple awards at the regional and international levels of FIRST. Team members work full time for six weeks to design, build, and program their Penguinbot. Earlier this year, the team requested and received our sponsorship – 50 licenses of SolidWorks Student Edition, which includes our high-end simulation products. This is Team 1717’s fourth year using our software. We bumped into the team most recently at the national championships in April at the Georgia Dome. They’re an impressive group who are pretty enthusiastic about engineering and using SolidWorks to design excellent robots.
If you want to learn more about Abo-Shaeer, DPEA, and their robotics accomplishments, read the book. “The New Cool: A Visionary Teacher, His FIRST Robotics Team, and the Ultimate Battle of Smarts” is due in March 2011.