A sense of belonging
Audrey King had enjoyed robotics and engineering in middle school, but when she got to high school, her motivation and interest faded. Then her mother saw an ad for the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering.
“At my old high school, I was not excited,” King said. “So, when my mom showed me a Facebook ad for ASCTE, and she told me, ‘They are your people,’ I wanted to grab the opportunity. Now that I’m here, I know these are the people I can relate to.”
Today, she’s studying alongside students with similar motivations and interests, she’s working to meet the school’s high expectations, and she’s asking lots of questions in class – a behavior that’s not just encouraged but expected.
“At my old school, I was always afraid to ask questions. But, here, I can do that. And I have all the resources that I need to succeed,” she said.
The environment is putting King in a good position to start her career, no matter which field she chooses.
“For all of us to come into this new environment, and learn about cyber tech and engineering, and have them tied into all of our courses – that’s great,” she said. “That will play a big part in what I know and how I work.”
A lasting impact
So how did Pagel’s light show go over with the students, anyway? The answer to that question lies on a piece of paper pinned to the note board in his office.
The email came from one of the school’s career coaches, and the reviews from the students were clear: “Engaging.” “Funny.” “Made everything understandable.” “My favorite presenter by far.”
“He kept me very entertained, and you could tell that he was passionate about his work,” one student wrote.
And that’s how Pagel knows his micro-lesson on microcontrollers worked.
“That’s very rewarding,” he said. “My goal with these presentations is to give an introduction into technical areas I enjoy.”
“Hopefully some students will feel the same,” he said, “going down a similar path to become the next cyber engineer or engineer who develops really cool things for me to play with when I’m old and retired.”