Sara Tatreau wins ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest

Sara Tatreau, a recent graduate of Kent Career Technical Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, won ACTE’s 2020 Student Trophy Design Contest. Tatreau’s design will serve as a template for trophies presented to award winners at ACTE’s CareerTech Virtual VISION. At the virtual Awards Gala, ACTE will commend Sara Tatreau and her teacher, Lawrence Ridley.

ACTE partners with Stratasys to present unique trophies that embody ACTE’s core values. Created by cutting-edge 3D-printing technology, the trophies reflect CTE’s role in preparing students for 21st century careers. They harness the power of collaboration between CTE and business and industry partners.

For her winning entry, Tatreau received a $1,000 scholarship. Kent Career Tech Center received a one-year lease of a 3D printer, courtesy of Stratasys.

“The ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest presents an opportunity for students to increase their skill area. Broaden their horizons. What other chance will they have to design a trophy?” Ridley, an engineering and architectural design teacher at Kent Career Tech, continued. “Sara Tatreau is very creative and very driven.”

Meet Sara Tatreau

Please tell me a little bit about yourself. What inspired your interest in career and technical education (CTE)? 

My parents have always encouraged me to do whatever I was passionate about. And I happened to be passionate about STEM! Anything to do with astronomy, spaceflight or aviation. I am a tactile learner, so I love working on projects and applying what I’m learning.

Attending CTE programs was an easy choice, knowing I would have fun working with projects and learning in a style that worked best for me. 

Why did you decide to enter ACTE’s Student Trophy Design Contest? 

My instructor kept an updated list of scholarship opportunities on the class page. He pointed out the opportunity to me one day. I read the description; it was right up my alley. ACTE’s Student Trophy Design Contest presented a chance to put everything I learned in class to the test, so I decided to give it my best shot.

Please describe the design process.

The design process was interesting to say the least. I had an idea in my head, which I designed in SolidWorks, while scribbling rough dimensions in my notebook. After a week or two, I realized the original concept I designed was not the one I wanted to turn in. I believe I redesigned the trophy three times before I came up with the design that I submitted. I played with different details until I produced a simple, elegant design I could be proud of.

Do you have any previous experience with 3D design and printing? 

Before my time in the engineering program, I had experience with SolidWorks and 3D printing through the Design Lab program. One unit, dedicated to 3D printing and computer-aided design (CAD), asked students to solve a problem in our lives. I also used CAD and 3D printing for my final project in the program, which was to solve yet another problem.

I entered a contest for NASA to design a combination tool that could be printed for astronauts on the space station. While I did not win the contest, I enjoyed the process of designing the prototype and 3D printing it at my school.

I also gained more experience when I volunteered at a summer camp run by my Design Lab instructor. We spent one day with the middle-school aged campers teaching them about CAD. We help campers design and 3D print their ideas. Often, I performed maintenance on the printers, along with changing filament, clearing the prints, uploading the designs and arranging them on the print bed in an efficient way.

What guidance did your teacher provide? 

During the development stage, my instructor let me go through my process with no interference. He helped me at one point when I was adding the ACTE logo. I was not familiar with certain features on SolidWorks. He taught me a couple tricks to get the end result I wanted.

What do you hope to achieve as you navigate postsecondary transitions?

I hope to earn my electrical engineering degree from Michigan State University. I also hope to encourage other young women to enter fields dominated by men. There is no better feeling than to follow your passion. I want to encourage others to do the same. Even if the career they want is not traditional for their gender.

What do you hope Kent Career Technical Center will gain from the lease of a Stratasys 3D printer? 

I hope they gain the opportunity to work with a top of the line 3D printer, and that they will get even more real-world experience during their high school years. I hope it also serves as a way to encourage them to go and try new things, because you never know what will happen if you give something your best.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to thank my family, friends and teachers that helped me get where I am today. I could not have done it without your support and occasional reminders to blink when designing parts in CAD.

View Sara Tatreau’s winning trophy design when you tune in live for the virtual Awards Gala at ACTE’s CareerTech Virtual VISION.

The awards celebration occurs on Dec. 3 at noon.

Not yet registered for VISION? Register today.