Hosting Beaverton High School Students for
Future Day 2018
By Chris Grewell
31 October 2018
Did you know what you wanted to do when you were 14 or 15 years old? For most of us, the answer to that question is no. But leaders and educators at Beaverton High School are working to get kids thinking about their futures and the steps they need to take to reach their goals earlier.
Beaverton High School is taking career day to the next level. They are approaching it with a creative twist and a vision for all their students to be prepared and excited for whatever future they choose when they graduate. Instead of hosting a standard career fair or presentation, freshmen and sophomores at the school participate in “Future Day,” and are sent out into the world of work to learn about the types of jobs that exist in our community and how real people ended up working at those jobs.
This reverse career day involves 40 different field trips for over 800 students in a single day. Their goal is to get students out into business, service and industry sites with hands-on experiences with employees at each company. Future Day is based on a career-cluster model, which breaks types of work into 16 subjects. Weir, falling under the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) cluster, was one of the many sites to host a group of students for Future Day 2018.
Our team was thrilled to plan an action-packed day for the students. Our goal was to introduce them to a unique space and meet the real people behind the day-to-day work at our company.
Future Day at Weir included a plant tour, presentations about some of our engineering processes and an interactive engineering demonstration. Each activity was supported by several engineers and we gave students the chance to ask our team members in every department, “What opportunities have you taken advantage of in your career that have led to your success now?”
The engineering demonstrations also served a special purpose. First, students tested the fatigue strength of two different-designed paper clips. Within a few minutes they discovered the smoother paper clip (with no ridges) had higher fatigue strength—meaning they could bend it more times before it broke. Through this simple, hands-on exercise, students got to see the materials side of product design and identify how strength, cost and weight play a factor in materials science.
One of the day’s highlights was the heat treat experiment led by Robin Churchill from our metallurgy team, who altered and measured the material properties of a chain link. The heat treat process involves the heating and cooling of metal to reach varying or desired physical properties. Those properties could range from soft and malleable to very hard and brittle steel. It was fun to see the students’ reaction to heating the steel to a bright orange of 1700° degrees Fahrenheit before quenching. We found all these demonstrations to be an engaging way to show the group what we do and how we do it, but on a much smaller scale.
The idea behind Future Day is for the students to envision their lives between ages 14 and 21, giving them a chance to map out what they need to do in their lives between now and 21 helps direct their focus, not just on finishing school work or to graduating high school, but also to see the connections between what you want to do with your future and the steps you need to take to get there.
Weir in Portland was proud to participate in Future Day as a STEM company. Many of our hardworking engineers found their careers through their passion for science, technology, engineering and math, and that passion comes through every day in the work they do designing our products.
We applaud the efforts of Beaverton High School to help prepare the next generation of STEM employees and we look forward to participating in more Future Days in years to come!