BRISTOL – On Friday morning, over 50 seventh and eighth grade students attended an engineering presentation at Northeast Middle School.
Nicholas Trottier, an Engineering Ambassador and a former Northeast student and current junior at UConn studying mechanical engineering, hosted the presentation. These ambassadors travel to schools for presentations to excite students about innovative topics in science, technology, engineering and math.
Trottier, who was joined by his three other engineering college classmates, helped explain the different types of engineering: chemical, mechanical, civil, aerospace and bio-medical. During the presentation, students were very engaged in learning about renewable energy and the science demo of “elephants toothpaste.” “Elephants toothpaste” is a chemical reaction that happens when hydrogen peroxide, soap and potassium iodine are combined to make an overflowing, foaming substance that looks like toothpaste big enough to brush an elephant’s teeth.
“I thought the engineering presentation was wonderful,” said eighth grade student Hilton Chanthakhyly. “It was very insightful on the different types of engineering. I was interested in mechanical, but now I think I’m more interested in chemical engineering, especially finding ways to create renewable energy.”
After the science demonstration, Trottier talked about his college experience and explained how he chose his school and what major he wanted to get into. Since he was young, Trottier knew he wanted to be an engineer. When it came time to apply to colleges, he had his heart set on Penn State and UConn. He choose UConn and has loved every second of his college experience from making friends, to attending UConn basketball games and being involved in the Engineers Ambassador program. He also encouraged the middle school students to get involved in clubs and activities.
“Extracurricular activities are important because you find people who share the same interests as you and you form great friendships. Volunteering is always great, and when you invest in clubs it looks really good when you apply for colleges,” Trottier said.
Rebecca Bottino, a science teacher at Northeast for the past 10 years, said it was really nice to see her former student, Trottier, talk about his college experience and his passion for engineering.
“It’s great that the students were able to meet college students because they are closer in age than if it was an older presenter,” she explained. “And it was great to have Nick here. The students have someone to look up to and see a potential path they can take by meeting a former student here.”
One student who was very interested in the college presentation was eighth grade student Harley Bradley. She said, “It was very informative. He talked a lot about clubs and how certain colleges provided pros and cons when he was applying. It made me realize that I should look into my college choices before applying.”