Meet Nathaniel Bryan, CTE Student & ACTE Award Winner

Meet Nathaniel Bryan, winner of ACTE’s Student Trophy Design Contest. He attends St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where he is a senior. Bryan’s interview appears as part of a spotlight series on our national award winners and finalists. This award challenges career and technical education (CTE) students to

Please tell me a little bit about yourself. What inspired your interest in CTE? And what are your plans for after graduation?

I was raised with my sister by my father. We moved to several states throughout the South before coming to Saint Martin, Mississippi, when I was 13. I was always interested in space and physics. And, for a time, I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, so the CTE engineering program at my school seemed like the way to go. After I graduate, I plan to go to college and pursue doctoral degrees in both physics and astronomy. I hope to become an astrophysicist.

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

Dr. Richard Humphreys, my CTE engineering instructor, assigned the contest prompt to his students. To receive full credit, we had to properly submit our designs into the competition.

“For me, ACTE’s Student Trophy Design Contest is about more than designing a trophy,” commented Humphreys. “It promotes 21st century skills and encourages students to use their imaginations. They must follow specific guidelines to create the trophy. They must write about themselves in their biography. In fact, I made the contest part of a cross-curriculum assignment. Students must have a current or former English teacher review their biography, and they must show me that review of their work. And they must do all of this on a specified timeline.”

Please describe the design process. Did you sketch your ideas on paper first, or draw them digitally? What software did you use?

I knew the design needed to reflect all of CTE as well as possible. So, I started out with a gem shape. After I sketched that out on paper, I added twisting spires to hold the gem, which adds interest to the design. I used Autodesk Inventor to model the 3D shape once I finished sketching the dimensions.

What guidance did your teacher provide?

It was my first time using Autodesk, so Doc showed me the basics of the software. And he helped me out when I had trouble accomplishing the more complex aspects of my design.

What do you hope your school and fellow students will gain from the lease of a 3D printer from Stratasys?

Our current 3D printer sometimes struggles to print more complex designs without sacrificing some quality, so a better printer would surely help that. I look forward to printing more designs of my own. And I feel the same can be said for Doc and his other students.

Learn more about ACTE’s Student Trophy Design Contest.