By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Shrewsbury – Like many boys his age, Evan Arsenault leads a busy life. A seventh-grade student at the Oak Middle School, he has a full curriculum which includes studying Chinese. He plays hockey, baseball, basketball, skis and plays the piano. And this May, Evan will be adding one more exciting thing to his schedule when he attends a prestigious four-day STEM workshop hosted by the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workshop is especially designed for seventh- and eighth-graders who demonstrate strong interest and skills in science, technology, engineering and math, according to the program guidelines.
And although he is only 13, that describes Evan, he said.
“Math and science are my favorite subjects,” he said. “And in one of my Allied Arts classes, we work on projects like an egg drop device.”
Evan has also been exposed to engineering thanks to his parents, Jennifer and Chris, who are both are employed in that field.
“My father, Joseph Dellagala, who passed away at the young age of 62 from lung cancer in 2009 (non-smoker) was also an electrical engineer and served our country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War which inspired Evan’s interest in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,” Jennifer noted.
The family took a trip to West Point and to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., a few years ago.
So when Evan heard about the West Point program from a family friend, Gus Giblin, who is now a junior at St. John’s High School, it definitely caught his interest, he said.
“He told me how much he liked it and that is was something that I might like, too,” he added.
To apply for the program, which is highly competitive, Evan had to write an essay, submit his transcript of grades and obtain two recommendations from his teachers.
From May 24-27 he will be on the West Point campus where he will participate in a range of STEM activities. Past programs have included working with robots and drones, making batteries and rocket fuel using fruits and vegetables, and building things such as hand-held wireless unmanned aerial vehicles.
“I think it will be so fun to do some of these experiments,” Evan said. “And it will be interesting to be on the campus and meet other kids with similar interests as me.”
The program will also offer the students a chance to learn more about what West Point offers to potential college students.
College is still a ways off, but Evan admits that he may possibly like to attend a military academy someday. For now, he is more focused on continuing to get good grades (he has almost all As) and thinking about where he will attend high school, whether that be Shrewsbury High or St. John’s.
Further into the future, he said he might like a career as a dermatologist.
“Human skin is so cool – there are so many viruses that can affect it. Sometimes you have to burn things off of it,” he said. “I think it would be really interesting.”
For more information on the STEM program at West Point, visit www.westpoint.edu/cldstem/SitePages/Home.aspx.