Padua Academy


UD Engineering and Padua Partnership

Team Members along with Mrs. Cheri Szurkowski

The Padua Academy Engineering program is the first high school to partner with the University of Delaware’s Engineering department.

As part of this alliance, a new Padua engineering class, Discover Engineering, has been developed by Padua teacher Mrs. Cheri Szurkowski and Dr. Jenni Buckley, a University of Delaware Mechanical Engineering Professor. The intent of this class is to enhance the student’s exposure to Engineering to encourage more females to enter the Engineering and STEM fields. 
As part of the class, the Padua students were given the opportunity to attend and participate in the Interdisciplinary Senior Engineering Project Presentations. They presented their semester-long projects alongside the Senior Engineering Undergraduate students and were evaluated by professors and industry representatives. This is the first time high school students have participated in the Design Presentations.  As one evaluator commented: “Your students are impressive,” and another stated: “It is clear that they are being correctly taught about the design process.” One sponsor even suggested that one Padua group patent their idea. The Discover Engineering class at Padua is a one-semester course open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

The twelve Padua students who are in the Discover Engineering class at Padua presented their prototypes, their findings, and their recommendations to a panel of judges at the University of Delaware College of Engineering Senior Engineering Design Celebration at Clayton Hall. The problem posed to the Padua students by Dr. Buckley was to design a device for Trypanophobia (a fear of needles) and to use the Engineering design process to create solutions to it. They then designed and fabricated prototypes using the UD Design labs. The students were divided into four teams, each coming up with their own “solution” to reducing the psychological and physical effects of receiving a needle. Lilly Spych, Tingwei Shi, and Katie Szczerba (Team 1), Savanah Garcia, Courtney Scott, and Melina Trautman (Team 2), Jade Carey, Gwen Truman, and Margo Nauman (Team 3) and Clair Bisson, Jasmine Middaugh, and Julia Zurzolo (Team 4) spoke to a small audience and a panel of judges about their projects. Each team received feedback on their knowledge, ingenuity, and design process. Each team also had to create a poster to explain their project, the process, and their findings. Congratulations to Team 2 for winning the High School Engineering Design Award for their project Shock and “Ah.”

External evaluators of the projects were engineering professionals from local industry, UD alumni, and UD partner programs.

Padua Academy 905 N. Broom Street
Wilmington, DE 19806
(302) 421-3739

Rooted in the Catholic faith, Padua Academy offers young women a transformational college preparatory education, challenging them to live Christ-centered lives of leadership and service.