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Changing the world with engineering

Cindy Ramunno
Theo StroomerChris Woods is leaving Vail for the University of Colorado.
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Scientists investigate what is; they discover new knowledge by peering into the unknownEngineers create what has not been; they make things that have never existed before — Joe Bordogna, Deputy Director, National Science Foundation

The College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU (University of Colorado) is one of the top-ranked undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in the country, which is why Vail Mountain senior Chris Woods is heading for Boulder this fall. Woods is looking forward to living in the college town, and will also participate in the universitys Nordic Program. My dad has always urged me to make a living with my mind rather than my body and as I have always been most drawn to math and science, engineering seemed like a perfect fit, explains Woods. Throughout high school and especially the last year, I think there has been a strong demand to make changes in the world. I think that engineers have the greatest potential to make an impact on the world and solve some daunting problems.A key benefit for first-year engineering students at CU is the Integrated Teaching & Learning Program and Laboratory (ITL), which has received numerous national awards. In the program, students use inter-disciplinary, hands-on approaches, mixed with cutting-edge technology. The program mirrors the contemporary world of professional engineering by having students work in teams on real-world projects. The Programs design supports a variety of learning styles and features first-year design studios. Woods senior project (a graduation requirement at VMS) is also focused on his future career. I am doing a structural engineering internship with Hannes Spaeh, exploring what the field of engineering entails and demands, says Woods. Spaeh is an engineer for Monroe & Newell Engineers, Inc. The company has offices in Vail, Frisco, Rifle and Denver, where engineers specialize in resort design and mountain construction. Woods describes his job on the project. I am looking at a specific structural project and learning the process and details that project needs to be constructed from designing, to calculating, to collaborating with different fields.Teachers at VMS say Woods has always been an enthusiastic learner with a strong work ethic. Some add that he is not only driven, he is appreciative of his education. Without exception, Chris was always grateful for his learning opportunities at VMS; he demonstrated his gratitude with a genuine thank you after each class, says teacher Ross Sappenfield.Woods has lived in Gypsum his entire life with his mom Kim, dad Mike and little brother Sean. He chose to make the daily drive east to VMS because of the tight-knit environment. It has a close sense of community and family, says Woods of VMS, adding that the teachers are invested in the well-being of students. His advice for younger students is to dream big. Take every opportunity you have to learn something new. Take chances and experience new things.


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