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#STEMbassador Senior Spotlight: Chris Pappas

Chris Pappas, DHS Senior and STEM Ambassador, shows off a plaque he made using CorelDRAW software and the laser cutter in the Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab.

What made you want to become a STEM Ambassador in the first place?

I wanted to become a part of growing the aspects of STEM in Delran High School as well as in the community. Applications of technology and the sciences are the future of our society, and the STEM Lab offers several opportunities to learn more in these areas.

What has been your biggest learning curve in the lab?

My biggest learning curve has been accepting the fact that I am going to make mistakes. In the many times I have made mistakes, I have learned so much more about the equipment and different techniques that I can use to turn my ideas into a reality. There is a lot to be learned in the STEM lab, and learning from failure brings on a great deal of success and inspiration.

What tool do you like best and why?

My favorite tool is the 3D printer. You can bring anything you can possibly think of to life. By learning a few simple techniques in 3D design, you can easily create items to fulfill multiple needs. The more you use it, the more you pick up on the special tips/tricks, and that is when the really complex designs come into play.

How is the lab helping you see potential in your future plans for college or career?

Being a STEM Lab Ambassador has only grown my interests in the areas of STEM in addition to its applications and coding that come with it.

What has been your biggest success in the lab so far?

My biggest success has been being a part of sharing the amazing potential of the STEM Lab with the rest of the community. We have had visitors from all around the town of Delran, the staff members in the Delran School District, and even visitors from overseas eager to learn more about STEM and our culture. Its been a rewarding experience to witness others have the ability to use the STEM Lab and explore its capabilities.

What are you most proud of from your experiences as a STEM Ambassador?

I am most proud of the skills that I have picked up on as an Ambassador. The STEM lab advisors are the best resource, and they know the equipment inside and out. I have grown to learn a lot from them, and these skills are passed on to those who wish to use and learn more about the Lab.

What are your plans for next year?

Next year, I will be attending the United States Naval Academy to study Aerospace Engineering.

Delran STEM Ambassadors are Delran High School students selected from applicants because they demonstrated a passion for STEM, and possessed outstanding communication skills. Much like an internship, STEM Ambassadors have participated in rigorous training within the Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab space. These learning opportunities are not available to most high school students in our country, since the idea of digital fabrication has only begun to grow in the K-12 sector, to meet the needs of Workforce Development. Delran's STEM Ambassadors have experienced and now taught others in computer-aided design software in 2D and 3D, including Corel Draw, FabMakerStudio, Tinkercad, etc. STEM Ambassadors have utilized these digital design skills to fabricate on vinyl cutters, 3D printers, laser cutters and die cut machines. While teaching others, including younger students in community outreach programs, and adults in staff professional development programs, STEM Ambassadors share their expertise with others. We are certain that this platform for intelligent, relevant communication and positive interaction, will encourage our STEM Ambassadors to be at the forefront of the next generation of STEM innovators.

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