JVS Engineering Alum Flies High with Project Lead The Way Program
Emilio Borges, Project Lead The Way, Class of: 2012
Emilio Borges treasures the time spent with his father building and flying remote-controlled airplanes.
"It's my dad's hobby, and when I was old enough, it became something we enjoyed doing together," said Borges, who built several planes with his father. "Since the time I could walk I've been interested in the mechanics and electronics of how things are made, how they work, and why."
Today, drones such as quad copters, multi-rotor helicopters lifted and propelled by four rotors, have gained popularity among hobbyists of all kinds and are starting to become an important tool in many businesses and disciplines," stated Borges. "They are powered by batteries and can be flown by a human or autonomously by a computer."
"Multirotors have essentially become flying robots," said Borges, 21. "The technology has definitely grown beyond anyone's expectations and will continue to grow."
This piqued Borges' interest, too. The North Ridgeville resident will graduate from The University of Toledo (UT) with a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering in 2016.
Before Borges selected UT, he enrolled in Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a nationally certified college tech-prep program offered at the Lorain County JVS, on the school's campus in Oberlin and at a satellite location at Lorain County Community College. The program is designed to help students succeed in engineering, science and technology.
"There are many different types of engineering disciplines," Borges said. "I found exactly what I was interested in from the Project Lead The Way program.
PLTW has agreements with colleges and universities around the country, including Lorain County Community College, where Borges obtained his Associate of Science degree and is earning his bachelor's degree through the University Partnership program.
"It's convenient. I can stay at home and save a lot of money that would have been spent on room and board at UT," said Borges, who got a jumpstart on college through PLTW high school coursework that offered college credit.
PLTW also gave Borges confidence to succeed at UT.
"For example, my PLTW digital logic class presented materials that were easy to understand and translated pretty much word-for-word to similar classes I have taken in college," he said.
Borges completed his first co-op, a seven-month internship with Rockwell Automation in Mayfield Heights, in 2014.
The software engineer intern was the first student ever selected to Rockwell's new mobile development team, designing website applications that run on mobile devices including cell phones, tablets and laptop computers.
"The engineers guided me," Borges said. "My skills grew and I added new tools to my toolbox."
Which paid dividends when Borges took third place in a drone competition at the Ohio Unmanned Aerial Systems Conference in Dayton in August of 2014.
When Borges' teammate withdrew a month before the event, he had to complete the project - a quad copter - on his own.
"Project Lead The Way gave me a good foundation in the construction, mechanics, logic and programming of how this type of technology works," Borges said. "Working solo also showed me that I could succeed independently, as well as when I was working as part of a team."
Borges is eager to begin his next co-op, a three-month internship with RW Beckett Corp. The North Ridgeville company manufactures heating and energy-related equipment, including oil and gas combustion products and energy storage systems.
"I'll be working more with electronics - getting my hands dirty, learning how things work and why, doing what I really enjoy," he said.
Borges third and final co-op has not been determined, but California's Silicon Valley is on his radar.
"Maybe Amazon, SpaceX, Oculus or Google," said Borges, who would like to make the Sunshine State his new home. "Project Lead The Way helped me focus on my career and gave me confidence, knowing I'll be successful in the engineering field. It prepared me well for the real world. It's the start of something bigger."