AACPS: Volunteer | Business Partner
Over the course of the last two school years, Mr. Jim Windgassen, Fellow Engineer from the Northrop Grumman Underseas Systems Division, Annapolis, MD has made engineering a reality for over 125 middle school students at Old Mill Middle South. In conjunction with fellow engineers, Ms. Melinda Bell and other associates, Mr. Windgassen planned, developed and prepared all related materials to guide middle school students through the construction of an operating radio and amplifer system-style boom. Not only did he dedicate his time and expertise, he donated materials, secured a substantial grant, sought out donations, and oversaw the implementation of each of these builds.
The first engineering project was a modified crystal A.M. radio for which he hosted a group of about twenty-eight eighth grade students in the spring of 2013 to teach them about light waves, energy transfers, and the difference between radio and sound waves. He arranged for the build to occur on site at the Bay Bridge facility and recruited engineering colleagues to assist students in the soldering and completion of the project. This project reinforced the topics students investigated about light, waves and energy transfers. It made theoretical concepts real with an authentic application in the form of an operating device.
This year Mr. Windgassen expanded the opportunity to one hundred of the county’s sixth grade STEM magnet students to teach them about sound through the construction of a “Shark” amplifier made out of two foam plates. Not only did he design the project, he developed a handbook, help order hundreds of parts involved with soldering the electronic boards, and secured a $2500 grant and obtained donations from several of his corporate suppliers on our behalf to pay for parts, tools and to defer costs.
Mr. Windgassen displays outstanding performance in volunteerism in many of the tasks related to the realization of each project for both teachers and students alike. Both he and Ms. Bell have committed personal time to our students by traveling to Old Mill South on a Saturday session, and for four evening sessions to complete the project.
Mr. Windgassen is a remarkable role model and inspiration to our students. He is passionate about electronics, and engineering. Most importantly he desires to foster the STEM spirit in young people, especially when it comes to electronics. His depth of knowledge, his expertise in the electronics field, and is appreciation of active learning make him an enormous asset to the STEM program. He communicates clearly and effectively with both youth and adults alike. Moreover, he helps students realize the importance of work involved in the future of electronic systems engineering. It is through his help and that of the Northrop Grumman Underseas Systems Division STEM initiative that AACPS is empowering our students to think and behave like engineers in the hopes they will continue their studies to become our next generation of innovators. Thank you Mr. Windgassen and thank you Northrop Grumman Oceanic Division for your support!