Cadet First Class Forrest Schaffer is a 4th year Chemistry major at the United States Air Force Academy and a four-year graduate of The Engineering Academy at Hoover High School, where the Catapult Engineering Academy curriculum was originally developed.
I am senior, a.k.a. a firstie, here at the United States Air Force Academy majoring in Chemistry. I graduated from The Engineering Academy at Hoover High School in 2011. Let me first provide a little background into my experience here at the United States Air Forces Academy.
The USAFA strives to produce well-rounded cadets to turn into Air Force officers. With this said, cadets go through a wide range of core classes from philosophy, to aeronautical engineering in addition to the classes required for their particular major. The engineering classes I have taken include classes in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and astronautical engineering.
Having been in the Engineering Academy, or EA, I was more than prepared for the rigors of the engineering classes I have taken while here at USAFA. The structure of EA and the exposure to the engineering thought process I received as an EA student gave me the skills I needed to meet the requirements of my engineering classes. Specifically, the skills I gained from EA allowed me to properly think through complex scenarios and problems I faced in my classes. And, it gave me a leg up over my peers which my instructors took notice of.
Outside of my engineering classes, I have to take rigorous chemistry classes that include required labs. I was required to maintain a detailed engineering notebook in EA that included class notes and the documentation of my progress when approaching a problem. I want to put an emphasis on the detailed notes I was required to take in EA, because my chemistry lab classes have required the same level of thoroughness. Having learned the importance of being detailed in my notes while going through EA, I quickly was able to meet the lab notebook standards required in chemistry lab classes.
Air Force officers must develop the ability to give thorough briefings and presentations. One skill that EA developed in me was how to create and give a professional presentation. This skill has helped me in everything from my classes to giving briefings in front of high ranking officers and officials.
Overall, the Engineering Academy significantly prepared me for the rigors, in and out of the classroom, that cadets face here at the United States Air Force Academy.