News and Information
The GVSU and West Michigan Aviation Academy partnership advances engineering education
May 09, 2018
A partnership between Grand Valley and the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter school on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, supports students learning STEM disciplines and focuses on helping teachers develop curriculum and extra-curricular activities, like FIRST Robotics. As part of the collaboration, a Grand Valley graduate student assists teachers and students, and the university donated equipment to help establish the school's first fabrication lab.
Students attending WMAA are learning how to make planes and other engineering feats thanks to a strong curriculum, which, in part, is supported by Grand Valley. WMAA faculty member Peter VandenBerg, head of the engineering department, said the partnership is mutually beneficial. "We've been able to expose our students to different topics and opportunities that we couldn't purely on our own," he said. "We asked Grand Valley professors to look at our engineering curriculum and determine areas of weakness. They spent a lot of time reviewing it, helping us make decisions and refine our curriculum. That process really solidified our partnership."
The GVSU-WMAA partnership also includes the support of a graduate assistant, who spends about 20 hours a week at WMAA. For two years, Kyle Dinger has filled this role as a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics coach, and even as a teacher.
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