Zach Gramstad is a homeschool student from Birmingham, Alabama who graduated on May 17, 2015. He completed Engineering Computations with MATLAB during the 2013-14 school year and Engineering Computations with LabVIEW this year. Zach shared the following information with us in an interview on May 14, 2015.
Catapult: What led you to take a high school engineering course:
Zach: I thought I wanted to study engineering in college, but I wanted some experience to help me figure out if it was really what I wanted to do.
Catapult: How did you find out about Catapult?
Zach: My mother went to high school with Dr. Conner, and she heard about it at a curriculum meeting for our cover school.
Catapult: What were your favorite things about Catapult EA?
Zach: I liked the projects because they were intense, which allowed me to learn a lot. I also liked the problem solving.
Catapult: How have you used the course material outside the course?
Zach: Taking LabVIEW and MATLAB made it easier to transition into learning other programming languages, because, even though syntax varies, the logic is similar.
Catapult: How is this course different/better than other online courses?
Zach: The one-on-one interaction with the Teaching Assistant made it better than other online courses. I have taken some classes from EdX, which is similar but does not really have adequate personal interaction.
Catapult: How would you describe the rigor of the Catapult courses?
Zach: It is pretty rigorous but manageable if you stay on top of it.
Catapult: What was the most difficult/challenging aspect of the program?
Zach: I don’t see difficult and challenging as the same. What was difficult was the Engineering Notebook. It was so intense and I spent a lot of time doing it. When we switched to Engineering Memorandum, I liked that better.
What I found challenging was the MATLAB projects toward the end of the course and then the LabVIEW projects. I could spend 3-4 hours just thinking how to approach the projects.
Catapult: What are the strengths/weaknesses of the program?
Zach: The rigor is a strength. Overall, everything I learned and gained knowledge-wise made it a good experience. The way that MATLAB is taught is helpful.
Catapult: How can we make Catapult Engineering Academy better?
Zach: Figure out a pacing schedule at the beginning of the semester and give some idea of how long a project might take. The early projects would take about an hour and then later projects could take as long as ten hours.
Catapult: Where are you attending college this fall and what are you studying?
Zach: I’ll be at Rice University in Houston, Texas majoring in Computer Engineering.
Catapult: Did these courses help you decide what you would study?
Zach: I was always interested in technology and always had a bent toward it but didn’t have any experience, so this did help me decide.
Catapult: How likely are you to recommend Catapult EA courses?
Zach: I have already!