Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 6:08 am | Fair 38º


Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Courts Potential Corporate Partners

The high school program, for the first time boasting a full class of 100 in all grade levels, counts on donations from Goleta-area companies

“Cool” was a word liberally thrown around Monday as Dos Pueblos High School’s Engineering Academy courted a possible corporate sponsor.

Looking to join the ranks of Raytheon, ATK Space Systems and other local tech giants-turned-sponsors was Curvature, a leading global provider of pre-owned and new networking and datacenter solutions located near the Goleta school.

A more casually dressed Mike Sheldon wore blue jeans and sat in a swivel chair next to student-manufactured robots lining a wall of an academy room, where the Curvature CEO listened to a brief presentation before taking a tour.

“We run this as a small business,” said Gary Simpson, a volunteer member of the DPEA foundation board. “We could likely be training your future employees.”

Supporters and school officials lead potential donors, visiting teachers and others on weekly tours, hoping to nail down some of the funding stream for the curriculum that concentrates on providing valuable hands-on experiences in engineering as well as art.

A third of the ninth-through-12th-grade academy’s annual budget of about $555,000 comes from corporate sponsors, with another third from foundations and philanthropists and a third from parents, Simpson said.

“Our retention rate is virtually 100 percent,” he added.

This year marks the first time the academy has boasted a full class of 100 in all grade levels, Simpson said, making up 20 percent of Dos Pueblos’ total student population.

Curvature CEO Mike Sheldon listens as Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy students talk about their future goals and careers in science fields. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

DPEA Director Amir Abo-Shaeer, who founded the academy in 2002, took the torch from there to outline the academy’s creative processes, which have changed over time but still emphasize learning by doing through class projects and internships.

Students create light sculptures and robots with the help of equations, and some seniors were working on a new yet-to-be unveiled project called Mechatronics Installation.

“Most companies produce something,” Abo-Shaeer said. “What we’re doing is very, very challenging.”

Sheldon followed the director around academy buildings within Dos Pueblos, channeling his own physics knowledge and periodically saying, “That is cool” or “That’s really neat.”

Students were quality-testing parts in one room and designing lights or demonstrating robotics in another.

Sheldon and a small contingent of his employees heard from students, who all agreed the academy opened their minds to a career that could benefit from the experiences, whether in biomedical engineering, business and marketing, or astrophysics.

The CEO was impressed with what he saw, pledging Curvature would donate by offering summer internships and paying for necessary IT gear.

“It’s really terrific to have these corporate partners in the community,” said Susan Deacon, a foundation board member and former trustee of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.