Engineering The Future

Engineering The Future

At Milford High School & Applied Technology Center (ATC), educational experiences in Engineering has opened up possibilities for several students, including junior Veronica Sillerico and senior Matthew Hannon.

“I took Engineering Design to get a better idea of what a career in engineering would be like in my first year of high school,” said Sillerico.

She also participated in the school’s Manufacturing and Externship Program in which three companies–Spraying System, Alene Candles, and Hitchner–work collaboratively to engage students in both educational and working environments.

“I plan to take the Externship Program for next semester,” added Sillerico, who said program at ATC attracted the attention of Congresswoman Annie Kuster last year.

“She visited the school and spoke with students, teachers, the companies involved, and four ambassadors to speak with her at a roundtable discussion, myself included,” she said. “After the meeting, I asked the Vice President of Spraying Systems if I could take a summer internship at the company, which he accepted.”

Sillerico noted she had “a remarkable experience there,” which has led her to seriously consider pursuing a Mechanical Engineering or Computer Programming career.

For Hannon, his aspiration is to earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Although he plans to attend Virginia Tech, he has also been accepted at Norwich University and SNHU. 

“For a long time, I was looking into aerospace/aeronautical engineering but thought that Mechanical was broad enough that I could apply it to many different fields,” he explained. “I feel that I gained a lot of experience in Mechanical Engineering through the Robotics class I took sophomore year.”

This class, he said, incorporated a lot of problem solving and technical skills that helped intensify his interest in the subject.

“One of my favorite projects was this ‘Crain Robot’ that me and my partner, Jack Vogel, had to build in Robotics,” he said. “I thought it was one of the more difficult robots to build and code and therefore was, in my opinion, the most fun to build.”

Aside from her work in school, Sillerico has pursued other pathways, one of which includes her recent acceptance to BAE’s Women in Technology Program.

“I also wrote an ELO ad campaign developed by Cookson Communication for a Work Based Learning event at Manchester Community College,” she added.

In looking ahead to the future, Hannon said his experience at ATC has helped him appreciate an important concept.

“Failing is going be a part of the learning process,” he said. “Honestly, it makes succeeding all the more amazing when it finally happens.”

Sillerico added, “In this program, I have met new people and learned new ideas and acquired soft skills that I believe impact me as a person and eventually will bring forth greater opportunities.”

NHJES Annual Conference Highlights Diversity

NHJES Annual Conference Highlights Diversity

On October 2, the New Hampshire Joint Engineering Societies (NHJES) held its 13th Annual Conference, highlighted by a live demonstration from students from St. Thomas Aquinas in Derry.

“They were able to demonstrate the skill of the VEX IQ robot picking up cylinders in an agility style movement,” said NHEJS Board Member Frank Xydias, who teaches at Milford High School & Applied Technology Center. “It was great.” 

Representing the third year running in which the conference included secondary teachers and students, this year’s conference featured several other presentations.

Students from Manchester Community College’s Workforce Development Summer STEM Camps showcased their 3D printing and robotics skills. In addition, Milford High School & Applied Technology Center’s Engineering and Career Focus Internship students discussed their programs.

“The conference provides an opportunity for students to connect with professional engineers from across the state,” added Xydias. “It’s a chance to learn about career pathways, career planning and network as a junior engineer.”

NHJES Chair Michale Bogue commented on the skills and preparation demonstrated by these students.

“Our society has expressed a desire to stay true to our mission, which is to provide education, leadership, and support,” he said. 

“We do this for both our adult members and our future members, the students in attendance, added Xydias.

Members in NHEJS include New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers – NH Section, IEEE – New Hampshire Section, Society of Women Engineers, Southern New Hampshire, and Structural Engineers of New Hampshire.

At this year’s conference, Keynote Speaker Dr. Cist, Vice President of R&D for Geophysical Survey Systems in Nashua, told stories of applications of ground penetrating radar systems.

“While it is a subject that sounds like it would only apply to engineers in the field, his illustrations and stories captivated us all,” recounted Xydias. “He also challenged all the students in the audience to follow their passion for engineering, because it is a career that does a lot of good.”

It is also a career with “tremendous diversity,” as he said there are more than 40 types of engineering degrees and a number of subcategory professions,” he said. 

“An engineering career can lead to many other professions,” he added. “It is not exactly what people think, which is why this conference is important, because it helps to paint that broader picture.”

As for the future of engineering, Xydias said it is unknown to a certain extent, which makes the field so intriguing.

acknowledged he is not sure, which he said makes the engineering field so interesting.

“The careers that students will be going into in 10 years have not even been developed yet,” he said. The future is wide open, and engineering is going to be behind many of the advances that shape how we live.”

Exeter Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Margaret Callahan, retiring SST Principal

Exeter Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Margaret Callahan, retiring SST Principal

Longtime St. Vincent de Paul board member and Exeter Rotarian Rachael Ela was named Citizen of the Year at the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year awards.

The annual ceremony, which honors businesses and community leaders, took place March 28 at the Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton.

Ela was named Citizen of Year for her numerous contributions over the years to the Exeter community, including her work organizing the annual Rotary Club’s “Stuff a Bus” food drive to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter and for running the club’s annual charity auction. As a past president of the Exeter Area Rotary Club, the group awarded a grant in partnership with Christ Church to provide water filtration systems to Cuba, she said.

Ela said she looked up to the former director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter, Cleo Castonguay, for his generosity and kindness he showed towards those in need during his 30-plus years at the organization before his death last spring at the age of 71. She said one of the first events she ever attended in Exeter after moving to town seven years ago was the Chamber’s Business of the Year Awards when Castonguay received the inaugural Citizen of the Year Award in 2012 and he was the primary reason why she decided to volunteer at the organization.

“Cleo was such an important part of my life and I strive to emulate him as best I can in everything I do, so to be recognized in the same way he was, it’s really beyond comprehension,” Ela said. “This is an incredible honor. Service is a reward in itself; you get so much more than you give. I hope people see the opportunities there are to give back and they ask more questions about how they can get involved serving the community.”

Also recognized was retiring Seacoast School of Technology Principal Margaret Callahan.

Callahan has worked as SST principal for the past 14 years and was honored with the Chairperson’s Award for her years of service at the technical center, which serves five Seacoast school districts beyond SAU 16. She said the enrollment at the school has increased “dramatically” since beginning her tenure and the school now offers 33 dual-enrollment programs, which allow students to earn college credits while taking SST classes.

SST was also recognized as a Business of the Year in the education category by the chamber.

“This was an incredible honor when I looked around the room; it was just so inspiring to be in the same company as everyone there who serve the community so well. A lot of them have been great supporters of SST through the years,” Callahan said. “Our certifications are just as valuable as a degree depending on the industry. Students and families see the value in tech education and if it’s something they think they want to pursue professionally; our programs are designed to prepare them as much as possible.”

The other individual award winners included Cooperative Middle School English teacher Melissa Tobey as Educator of the Year; Derek Foley of Liberty Mutual as Ambassador of the Year, and Chamber Director of Member Partnerships Bobbi Vandenbulcke received the President’s Award.

The other Business of the Year winners were Clean by Sea, for business services; ReVision Energy, for manufacturing, construction or real estate; Staples, as a large retail or wholesale business; Wireless Zone, as a small retail or wholesale business; Sea Dog Brewing Company, for large tourism and hospitality; Laney & Lu, for small tourism and hospitality; St. Vincent de Paul, as a non-profit; Elliot Evans, of Edward Jones, for independent financial services; and Kennebunk Savings Bank, for commercial financial services.

Jennifer Wheeler, president of the chamber, said each of the award winners made significant contributions to making the Exeter area a thriving community.

“We are so proud of this year’s award winners,” Wheeler said. “There is so much to celebrate in our communities and it is important that we take time to recognize these outstanding businesses and individuals who continue to make this region a vibrant community to live, work and play.”

Exeter Hospital was the Business of the Year Awards’ diamond sponsor and Mark Whitney, vice president of strategic planning at Exeter Health Resources, said though the hospital is a major economic driver in the region, maintaining a healthy community takes the entire business community pulling together in the same direction.

“We see both Exeter Health Resources and the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce as community leaders and catalysts and that is why we value our partnership so deeply,” Whitney said. “Improving the health of the community is a team sport and we like being part of this team.”

LaCasse, Alex, and Alex LaCasse. “Exeter Chamber Honors Community Leaders, Businesses.”,, 4 Apr. 2019,

Pinkerton CTE Student Runs His Own Maple Sugaring Business

Pinkerton CTE Student Runs His Own Maple Sugaring Business

Pinkerton Academy senior Ryan Neil takes work-based learning to new heights.  Starting at age 13, Ryan’s Sugar Shack got its start by tapping two trees.  Five years later, he now has 1,500 taps which produced 250 gallons of maple syrup.  This year, with the addition of a vacuum system, he is on track to produce 400 to 500 gallons of syrup.  Pinkerton has its own sugar house which is part of their Natural Resources CTE program.  Learn more from this segment which recently aired on WMUR’s Chronicle.


It’s Time to Rethink High School Education

It’s Time to Rethink High School Education

Steve Rothenberg, CTE Director at Concord High School, recently shared his thoughts on changes which need to be made in our education system.  “If we want more students to graduate truly ready for today’s college and career opportunities, we can no longer continue to educate them in silos that fail to connect that learning in meaningful and purposeful ways to careers.”  Read the full article here.