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Encouraging STEM Education Through Volunteerism
Renowned pool builder, Joseph M. Vassallo, CBP, APSP Fellows Invited to Join Northwest Career and Technical Academy- Academy of Engineering (AOE) Advisory Committee
By: Paragon Pools
NWCTA is a “5” star Magnet public high school. Its Engineering Program is one of the original thirteen engineering academies sponsored by the National Academy Foundation (NAF) and utilizes the national engineering curriculum, Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. NWCTA is the only PLTW certified school in the state of Nevada.
Vassallo was recruited by David Philippi, NWCTA Director - Academy of Engineering and Community Partnership Coordinator. Established by Philippi in 2007, the committee is currently the largest Engineering Advisory Committee sponsored by N.A.F. in the U.S.
The AOE Advisory Committee hosts a 9-month calendar of activities, providing committee members many options to become involved with the academy as well as with other educational institutions.
“I wasn’t certain what would be expected of me as an advisory committee member, but envisioned I would have opportunities to introduce swimming pool design and construction to these young talented students. And hopefully to inspire the next generation of pool professionals,”
In late December 2014, Vassallo received a notice asking for volunteers to judge the region’s Future City competition. The 4-part competition required a team of middle school students to design a comprehensive futuristic city utilizing SimCity’s 3D computer program. The judging criteria consisted of four separate elements: a SimCity design, a written composition describing the future city, an oral presentation of the project and the construction of an actual scaled model of the city. Judging was held in mid-January 2015.
At Paragon Pools, Vassallo’s design team utilizes Structure Studios’ Pool Studio 3D program for client presentations. Thus, he was intrigued to examine what the students imagined for a city as well as their aptitude at using 3d design programming.
“I was not familiar with SimCity, therefore preparing for the on-line judging was a bit time consuming and challenging,”
The judging criteria were quite extensive with fifty elements to review and score. Among the elements were budget management, public transportation, utilities, land values, educational services, green energy, tax rates, fire hazards, crime, “happiness of its citizens” and other criteria.
“I was very impressed with the students’ work,” states Vassallo. “I look forward to participating in more activities with the Advisory Committee and the Academy, specifically the internship program offered by the school.”
Vassallo encourages his peers to find ways to support STEM education noting, “The future of our industry would greatly benefit from the talents of these youths.”
About Joseph M. Vassallo, CBP, APSP Fellow
Author, designer, entrepreneur and innovator, Joseph Vassallo is the founder and president of the award-winning firm, Paragon Pools in Las Vegas, Nevada. The custom in-ground, commercial and residential swimming pool company specializes in both new construction and renovations. Vassallo’
The firm’s client list includes projects for major hotels, casino moguls, celebrated chefs, celebrities, luxury home tours and multiple man-made lake renovations. AN active member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), he holds the APSP CBP (Certified Building Professional)
His community activism involving educational and water safety programs have earned numerous accolades including the 2008 Citizen of Distinction, 2009 Jefferson Award, 2009 Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, 2010 Golden Hands Service Award, 2012 Distinguished Men in Nevada, 2011 Inspire Award, and the 2014 National Drowning Prevention Alliance Community Lifesaver Award.
Mary Vail, MBA