New Visions Grad Credits Program for Success in Engineering

February 05, 2018

Adam Howie is reaching for the stars. The recent RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) graduate, who majored in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, has worked on projects for NASA and is now studying for his master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
As a student at Somers High School, Howie attended the New Visions Engineering program at the Career and Technical Education Center at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES. “It was one of the most important things I have done, 100 percent!” he said, adding that the program helped jumpstart his career.
“I knew I wanted to be an engineer, and I really loved the hands-on aspect of New Visions Engineering,” said Howie, a 2013 Somers High School graduate who attended the Tech Center in senior year. “It seemed to cover more than would have been available to me in high school.”
Howie interned with an RPI lab last year on NASA-sponsored research where he designed a material testing chamber to safely get protein samples into orbit. The project was a stepping-stone toward a similar project that will be run on the international space station in 2019.
Reflecting on his experience in the New Visions program at BOCES, Howie said he appreciated meeting people from different schools and backgrounds who were pursuing varied careers, such as nursing. “I really loved the sense of community that we had; it was a tight-knit group and I’m still in contact with some of them.”
Noting that the “facilities were fantastic,” Howie took full advantage of the BOCES option, completing half a day at the Tech Center, participating in an internship in the afternoon, and still having time to get back to Somers High School, where he was active in the jazz band.  “New Visions allowed me to do all that,” he said.
Thinking he wanted to be an electrical engineer, Howie was exposed to the varied engineering options through New Visions Engineering, but it was a class at RPI on microcontrollers that set him on a new path to mechanical systems and aerospace.
“I fell in love with fluid mechanics and took an Intro to Flight class and really enjoyed the subject matter,” he said. “It’s an interesting crossroads of all the different fields of study that deal with pure mathematics and biology.”
Though Howie graduated from the New Visions program five years ago, his teacher Carlo Vidrini said he is one of those students that teachers remember.
“We immediately saw the potential in Adam,” said Vidrini of how he and fellow teacher Gerry Markel viewed him. “He excelled in all his classes, was incredibly well spoken, and a really mature young man. We could not be more proud of his success!”
Now that he has graduated from college, Howie is continuing his education, pursuing an online master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. “The online studies give me flexibility and leave my options open to start working,” he explained.
“I am focusing my graduate education on the study of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and their application to high-efficiency turbomachinery such as gas turbines or aircraft jet engines,” Howie said. “I am currently sending out job applications in the hopes of beginning my career as an engineer in aerospace industry.”
Former New Visions Engineering student Adam Howie