McNeil senior earns recognition for engineering

Brandon Vo, McNeil High School senior

McNeil High School senior Brandon Vo is one of 1,300 students in the nation to be recognized by the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Program and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) for his achievement in engineering.

Brandon excelled in his PLTW coursework which included Introduction to Engineer and Design, Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture and Computer Integrated Manufacturing classes. He is also the teacher’s aid for McNeil Career and Technical Education (CTE) engineering teachers Carrie Copeland and Lisa Windolph, he credits them for their acceptance of inserting student voice into the curriculum.

“They give me the opportunity to perform organizational tasks where I can gain perspective and context and then ask me for my input,” said Brandon. “We’re given fun group task challenges that include making something with minimal supplies. We are expected to work as a team and understand what it looks like to be in a work group.”

The College Board and PLTW partnership is geared towards building student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees and careers. By earning the AP and PLTW Achievement in Engineering, Brandon demonstrates to colleges and future employers that he is prepared for advanced coursework and career comprehension within the field of engineering.

“Project Lead the Way courses gives students’ skill sets and the level of knowledge to be both college and career ready,’ said Melody Maples, McNeil assistant principal. “Brandon will leave high school job-ready with 21st-century skills, both practical and academic, that typically take a few years in college to gain.”

With his intention to study mechanical engineering, Brandon has applied to the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Dallas. He has already been accepted to Texas A&M and UT Dallas.

“We’re excited about the College Board and PLTW partnership, it’s college and career level and where we want our CTE classes to be,” said Maples. “This recognition is for Brandon but as an administrator, it affirms the work of the CTE staff and educators. They have done a great job at keeping the student as the focal point.”

For each PLTW course, teachers attend a non-paid two-week summer training.

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