Foothill alumnus Cole Nielson, interns Jacqueline Simion and Bradley Thompson (not pictured) built a model OMEGA system, an innovative algae/biofuel prototype based on the research of Dr. Jonathan Trent.
Foothill inspires a passion for engineering
Last spring, Cole returned to Foothill College working with faculty members on several new initiatives of Foothill’s Science Learning Institute. He generously shared his love for science and math when Foothill welcomed its first STEM Summer Camp participants.
Foothill’s STEM Summer Camp targets and recruits from underrepresented groups, including girls, and promising but underprepared high school students with the goal of improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) retention and engaging a more diverse student body in STEM careers. Local high school students spent two weeks participating in hands-on activities while exploring four fields of study – math, energy/power, robotics, and water.
In September, Foothill College welcomed noted nano technologist, Jonathan Trent to the STEM Lecture Series to speak about his research with algae to produce energy. Cole and a two Foothill student interns debuted a working model of Trent’s project that not only grows algae for biofuel, it renders wastewater drinkable and traps carbon dioxide in the process. Currently he is working on a new 3D printer that can produce carbon fiber.
Students arrive at Foothill from all walks of life and few were exposed to role models in the fields of science and engineering while growing up. Whether guiding high school students in assembling drones made from parts made on a 3D printer and then flying them or developing a new 3D printer that can produce a carbon fiber, Cole is an inspiring engineer in full action at Foothill College.