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
Vassallo judges SimCity Future City competition submissions
Vassallo judges SimCity Future City competition submissions
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* Las Vegas - Nevada - US

LAS VEGAS - Feb. 9, 2015 - PRLog -- When Joseph M. Vassallo, CBP, APSP Fellows and President of Paragon Pools, http://www.paragonpools.net , received an invitation to become a member of the Northwest Career and Technical Academy (NWCTA) – Academy of Engineering (AOE) Advisory Committee, he was honored to join an illustrious group of Las Vegas’ top engineering professionals, many of whom contribute to the ever changing skyline of the Las Vegas strip.

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,” remarked Vassallo.

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,” exclaimed Vassallo.  Complicating the process, a recent update to the Future City educational segment of SimCity caused many judges to be shutout of the system. But with a little persistence and a few computer tricks, Vassallo was able to enter the portal.

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’s innovative design concepts and business acumen have been celebrated in a multitude of arenas; from consumer and business publications, to electronic, on-line and digital media. His eagerness to employ “special materials” has resulted in major trend-setting applications. Vassallo and his projects have been showcased in many television segments including an HGTV special. He is a featured designer for HGTV.com,  http://people.hgtv.com/professionals/joseph-m-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) certification, was named 2012 CBP of the Year and was inducted as an APSP Fellows in 2014.

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
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Tags:Activism, Education, Swimming Pools, Volunteer, Stem
Industry:Education, Technology
Location:Las Vegas - Nevada - United States
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