Denise Kimblern, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa, OK
To Denise Kimblern, safety training for her senior level engineering design students is an important and necessary element of their education. For the past 11 years, Kimblern has been teaching Engineering Design at Tulsa Technology Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“You have to apply to come into the academy, so we’re teaching a lot of high-level students. It makes it that much more rewarding to work with students who really want to be here,” she said. Students with a serious interest in engineering that apply and are accepted into Tulsa Technology Center are then enrolled into Project Lead the Way’s (PLTW) national pre-engineering curriculum that applies “engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context.”
By providing hands-on training, rather than a traditional lecture only form of curriculum, Kimblern says her students really take into account the lecture, because they know it will soon be applied. “It makes a big difference. They really enjoy the applied parts of class, and it makes it easier for them to sit through lectures, because they know they will be using this information,” she continued.
Kimblern’s senior level Engineering Design and Development course is dedicated to a year-long class project that requires each student to research and build a working prototype related to engineering. As part of the curriculum, Kimblern says her students must complete OSHA safety training before they are allowed to begin building a prototype.
Last year, Kimblern decided to begin using CareerSafe OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry training as part of her classroom curriculum. “I decided to use an OSHA construction course due to the tools and machinery my students will be using,” Kimblern explained.
Kimblern holds her students accountable for how long they wish to take in order to complete their safety training, but is adamant that it must be completed before beginning to build their prototypes and working with any equipment. For the first nine weeks of class, Kimblern assigns safety training and students focus on researching for their engineering projects.
“I set the initial deadlines for certain objectives, but it is their responsibility to get the work completed and meet those deadlines. It’s great to see their dedication and work ethics in action,” said Kimblern. Many of Kimblern’s students continue on to post-secondary schools for engineering which require credentialing, and that’s one of the many reasons Kimblern implements safety training in her classroom. Kimblern is pleased to see success for her students in engineering, but also in workplace safety education.
“Overall, we promote safety in our school. It’s wonderful to see students policing each other and speaking up when they notice safety hazards in the classroom. They should know how to work safely now and in the future, and we’re doing everything we can to make that possible.”
With the dedication and hard work of educators like Denise Kimblern, we are able to educate students in high school not only for entry-level jobs, but also do our part to prepare them for the rest of their lives.