The following articles are from Ms. Laurie Roder’s STEM Language Arts class — published in their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) newsletter. I will continue to share one or two articles each week from this class project in order to explain STEM.

STEM Academy by Weston Arntson

In the STEM Academy at Kennedy Secondary School, students can earn three college credits per year for a total of nine by the end of their senior year through Project Lead The Way (PLTW).

They can earn these credits by keeping an 85 percent or higher in engineering courses and passing a test provided by PLTW at the end of each academic year.

Anyone interested in engineering, or how things work, is encouraged to enroll for the PLTW classes their sophomore through senior years. In addition to earning college credits, STEM classes provide students with other benefits:

• Sense of achievement as they are recognized for earning collegiate level work.

• Credit may be directly applied to college graduation requirements, reducing the amount of hours required and potentially reducing the amount of time spent to earn the degree.

• Credits earned may increase the registration priority for collegiate level courses. When students are in college, this may allow them to register for other courses earlier than their peers.

• Credits earned also have a financial advantage: The cost of three credits with PLTW is $100 per course. The current cost of three courses is more than $1,000 for tuition and fees for Minnesota residents at many Minnesota universities.

Overall, the PTLW courses in the STEM Academy are a great way for students to earn college credits while still in high school.

Diesel Technicians,       by Seth Edman

If it weren’t for diesel technicians then some truck drivers and farmers may not be able to make it in their area at all. A diesel technician is an expert in engine repair and maintenance when it comes to large diesel-powered vehicles.

A diesel technician’s day is mostly spent examining a large assortment of diesel run vehicles. For instance, technicians might work on trucks, diesel-powered automobiles, road graders, boats, combines, bulldozers, farm tractors or cranes. For that reason, training and education are very important.

The technicians might find that the extent of their job duties is expanded on any given day.

They may spend one day working on major engine repair for a crane or working on the electrical system of a bulldozer.

Sometimes vehicles will be brought in for upkeep and maintenance to ensure that they don’t face any problems in the future. Therefore, the technicians might spend a lot of their time on general maintenance involving minor repairs, adjustments and inspections.

Diesel technicians can be assured that working with their hands will be required on a daily basis.

The type of vehicle they work on will probably determine where they work on them.

For smaller vehicles, they may work inside a well-ventilated and well-lit garage. However, larger vehicles may require work to be performed outside. At times, they may be working in tight conditions.

It’s extremely important to practice good safety precautions in order to avoid injury. Although the technicians get times for breaks throughout the day, they shouldn’t expect them to be long ones.

The technicians’ customers depend on them to get their equipment repaired in a timely manner.

They even have to work some hours on the weekend, as well, since vehicles tend to break down and stop running at inopportune times.

As far as working environments go, diesel technicians might be working in a repair shop, a trucking firm, or even their own business.

The education involved is usually a technical college, which is one or two years. Most graduate with jobs in place that pay well, anywhere between $13 an hour to $27 dollars an hour.

Jerry Ness is the superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools. His column appears every Wednesday.

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