During the 2014/2015 school year, I was lucky enough to  be invited to act as a mentor to a couple of amazing young men, Bill Cieslak and Justin Page, in the Project Lead The Way Engineering program at Martin Luther King Jr. high school in Riverside.

   PLTW is a program focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education to address real world problems and find solutions.

    Bill and Justin chose to address a common issue with hiking and backpacking, the sprained ankle. Through their research, they identified a need for a light weight, portable device to allow a person to hike out of a situation, rather than having to be carried or airlifted. They developed a brace that will transfer the load to the leg through the knee and thigh, bypassing the foot, ankle and calf. This will greatly reduce the possibility of further strain or injury to the affected foot, and allow the hiker to walk out on their own.

    The boys show great promise as future engineers, and it was such a pleasure to work with them. I wish them both much success in their pursuit of knowledge, and I have no doubt that they will both excel in their fields of choice.