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STEM/Transportation
        Teaching Today Minnesota | Winter 2024                                                                                                Page 17

                          Peter’s Journey into the Automotive Industry

                          How a preference for hands-on learning led Peter Mendez to a promising career path

        Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191  With the auto shop spaces at BHS, Peter
            Peter  Mendez  has  always  had  an  inter-  gets  real-world  experience  with  vehicles
        est  in  how  things  work. As  a  middle  school   while  working  towards Automotive  Service
        student at Eagle Ridge, he began to consider a   Excellence  (ASE)  certifications,  which  he
        future in engineering and found a new world of   hopes to achieve before he graduates in 2025.
        possibilities at Burnsville High School (BHS)   The  class  toured  a  nearby  technical  college
        when he saw the opportunities for automotive   which offers a two-year program in a variety
        and engineering classes.            of automotive pathways.
            “The  course  catalog  really  sparked  my   “The  technical  college  opened  my
        interest,”  said  Peter.  “I  have  always  been   eyes  about  potentially  being  a  mechanic,”
        interested in cars, racing and the mechanical   said  Peter.  “I  have  always  thought  about
        workings of things, so learning how engines   the four-year college option, but am leaning
        work was a perfect fit.”            more towards a path like technical college to
            In tenth grade, he took the Introduction   become a mechanic because it is a fulfilling
        to Consumer Automotive class that provided   career with many different options and seems
        lessons  on    all  aspects  of  vehicles  includ-  like a great fit.”
        ing insurance and purchasing cars, and gave   Peter  also  keeps  busy  outside  of  the
        the  chance  to  take  a  vehicle  apart  and  learn   automotive  shop.  He  plays  the  bass  clari-
        more  about  the  inner  workings  of  cars.  The   net  in  the  BHS  band,  is  on  the  mountain
        following  year,  he  started  the  Automotive   biking  team,  has  served  two  terms  on  the
        Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) courses   Dakota County Library Advisory Board and
        where students learn about engine repair in the   is  a  youth  member  of  the  Burnsville  Parks
        classroom and get to participate in hands-on   and  Natural  Resources  Commission.  He  is   about it too much, but use your time to try   the trades or to a technical school, especially
        learning by taking an engine out of a vehicle   looking  forward  to  the  upcoming  band  trip   to  narrow  it  down  and  figure  out  what  you   since  those  career  fields  really  need  people
        and disassembling it down to its components.  to Costa Rica and the opportunity to learn as   want to do while it’s free,” said Peter. “One   right now.”
            “Sitting in a classroom and listening all   much as he can in high school before his next   of the things that I have enjoyed about BHS is
        day  is  harder  for  me,”  said  Peter.  “I  can  be   steps.          that they put a lot of emphasis on the fact that
        much more engaged and really just learn better   “The biggest advice I can give is if you   going to a four-year school isn’t for everyone   www.isd191.org
        with hands-on learning.”            don’t know what you want to do, don’t worry   and  that  it’s  perfectly  acceptable  to  go  into


                                                                               SPPS Automotive Program
             CAV Career                                                        Continued from Page 16

             Pathways Camp                                                      Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair 2    •   Students   study   safety,   tools,

                                                                                Course Description:                    equipment, shop operations, and the fun-
             Are you a high schooler interested in vehicles and the                Allows students to explore career oppor-  damentals  of  operation,  maintenance,
                                                                                                                       and  basic  repair  procedures  for  auto-
             latest technology? Intrigued by self-driving cars and              tunities  and  requirements  of  a  professional   motive  suspension  systems,  steering
                                                                                service technician.
             automated shuttles? Then the CAV Career Pathways                     •  Content  emphasizes  beginning  trans-  systems, and brake systems.
             Camp may be right for you!                                             portation  service  skills  and  workplace     •   Classroom  and  shop  activities
                                                                                    success skills.                    simulate  automotive  service  industry
             Dates: August 5–9, 2024                                              •  Students study safety, tools, equipment,   operations  through  the  use  of  training
                                                                                    shop  operations,  and  the  fundamentals   aids, shop vehicles, and customer work
             Location: University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus,                  of  operation,  maintenance,  and  basic   as available.
             Minneapolis, MN                                                        repair  procedures  for  automotive  elec-  Completion of any or all of the Mainte-
                                                                                    trical  systems  and  engine  performance   nance and Light Repair courses will give the
             For more information or to apply, contact ctscamps@                    systems, as well as the fundamentals of   student  a  good  foundation  in  the  operation,
             umn.edu or visit mncav.umn.edu/outreach/cavcamp                        hybrid vehicle information.    maintenance,  and  repair  of  an  automobile
                                                                                  •  Classroom  and  shop  activities  simulate   and prepare students for employment, further
                                                                                    automotive  service  industry  operations   advanced training in a post-secondary automo-
                                                                                    through  the  use  of  training  aids,  shop   tive program, and NATEF certification.
                                                                                    vehicles,  and  customer  work  as  avail-
                                                                                    able.
                                                                                Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair 3  www.spps.org
                                                                                Course Description:
                                                                                   Allows students to explore career oppor-
                                                                                tunities  and  requirements  of  a  professional
                                                                                service technician.
                                                                                  •  Content  emphasizes  beginning  trans-
                                                                                    portation  service  skills  and  workplace
                                                                                    success skills.
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