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Pre-engineering Program Sparks Minds

Growing up on the farm, Devin Mulder (BSc, BEd ‘06) shadowed his father, fascinated by how things worked. Day by day as the pair fixed machinery, maintained equipment, and undertook woodworking and construction projects, young Mulder learned new skills. In school he excelled in math and science and was active in sports. He graduated from Lethbridge’s Catholic Central High School (CCHS), and while attending university returned to coach volleyball. “I enjoyed the school atmosphere and thought I’d enjoy teaching,” he says.

Mulder convocated from the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education with combined degrees in Science and Education and began teaching at CCHS. “They were looking for a volleyball coach as well as a science and construction technology teacher. It was perfect.”

Two years later he was approached to pilot a new course -pre-engineering - then offered in only one other Alberta high school. “They thought my skill set, tooling knowledge and knowledge of machines, as well as my science, physics and math background would qualify me to run the program,” he says. Mulder was thrilled.

“The company putting out the pre-engineering program is in Indiana. I made a trip to buy equipment and then another for training.” On his return Mulder designed and outfitted a lab on the west Lethbridge campus of CCHS.

“The pre-engineering lab is a staple on our west campus,” he says. “We want as many students as possible to get their hands on the equipment, so there are no prerequisites to taking the course.” At interactive training stations students learn and hone skills in robotics, electrical fabrication, computer automated design, plumbing systems, bridge building, and more. Then they work in teams to design and build actual objects.

“We had larger than expected enrollment, even from the start,” says Mulder. “One student transferred from a school outside the city specifically for this course.” He’s now studying engineering on a post-secondary scholarship.

Mulder is pleased to have the opportunity to incorporate his diverse talents into his career. “I’d like to further develop the lab and expand our construction technology program as well, getting students on site doing industry-type tasks.”

“I just really enjoy what I do.”

“Stay open-minded,” he advises those interested in teaching what they love. “I would never have thought of teaching a pre-engineering course because I didn’t know it existed. But schools take on new pursuits, and opportunities do come up.” At interactive training stations students learn and hone skills in robotics, electrical fabrication, computer automated design, plumbing systems, bridge building, and more. Then they work in teams to design and build actual objects.

“We had larger than expected enrollment, even from the start,” says Mulder. “One student transferred from a school outside the city specifically for this course.” He’s now studying engineering on a post-secondary scholarship.

Mulder is pleased to have the opportunity to incorporate his diverse talents into his career. “I’d like to further develop the lab and expand our construction technology program as well, getting students on site doing industry-type tasks.”

“I just really enjoy what I do.”

“Stay open-minded,” he advises those interested in teaching what they love. “I would never have thought of teaching a pre-engineering course because I didn’t know it existed. But schools take on new pursuits, and opportunities do come up.”