Josh Ignacio, recent graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School, will attend the University of Washington and study aerospace engineering. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Josh Ignacio, recent graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School, will attend the University of Washington and study aerospace engineering. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

He’s set on a future in aerospace

Mountlake Terrace grad Josh Ignacio heading for UW engineering school

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Josh Ignacio is set on pursuing an aerospace career after graduating from Mountlake Terrace High, a school he sought out because of its focus on STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The 18-year-old is headed to the University of Washington to study engineering.

Question: How did you wind up at Terrace?

Answer: I live in Everett, in the Pinehurst neighborhood. I went to Mountlake Terrace because that’s like the only STEM program that I know of. My sisters went to Meadowdale High. And sadly, where all my friends went, too.

Q: Tell us about your senior project.

A: We developed a project so that we could solve power distribution to Third World countries. We aimed to provide them with power that they can produce on their own, without relying on any external sources.

Q: What gave you the idea?

A: Sometimes it’s hard to move away from building cool things, so we had to focus on trying to help people. … One of the resources that we thought of was power.

Q: What did you come up with?

A: What we called it is a High Capacity Renewable Energy Power Cell. It is basically just a power cell, or batteries, that are charged using a small wind turbine that people can set up themselves and it doesn’t have to be this large structure. It can be something small. It’s designed to be about 10 feet high with a diameter of 6 feet.

Q: Did you make any mistakes along the way?

A: Communication is key. We didn’t really talk to our mentor too much. He kind of felt like we weren’t communicating with him. Fortunately, we were able to get him back and we were able to finish the project.

Q: Who was your mentor?

A: Jack Gilbert. He’s a wind turbine engineer, designer. He has a wind turbine shop. Students can control (a wind tunnel) remotely from a distance because he’s all the way in Ohio. He wants this to spread out so schools across the nation can use his shop remotely.

Q: What did you do with the wind tunnel?

A: We tested our blade designs to see if it would spin the alternator fast enough to generate efficient electricity.

Q: Who else worked on your project?

A: My partner was Colin Hanzeli. We had been in aerospace class together the year before. Good friend.

Q: In terms of career goals, anything more specific than aerospace?

A: Company-wise, I’m aiming for Lockheed (Martin). As for what aspect of aerospace engineering, I’m not too sure. Probably designing parts of the plane, maybe the wings or the fuselage.

Q: Have you always been interested in aerospace?

A: For a while, yeah. It all started with trains and cars. Around late elementary, I went to Boeing Family Day. My uncle works there so he took us around. I looked into the shop, and there are just all these cool things, all these planes, massive machines. Also, around middle school, I had this personal journal of mine that had grid lines and I kind of “designed” all these planes that were in my head. It’s fun getting all of these ideas out.

Q: Have you overcome challenges?

A: I definitely worked hard. My dad is pushing me to work hard and to get into the advanced classes, not to just slip by and do the easy classes. It’s definitely stressful a lot of the time. But it’s definitely worth it.

Q: What do you like to do outside of school?

A: Video games are definitely a thing that’s hard to not do. I also like to do photography. I have my own camera and my dad and I go to the beach sometimes and I like to take pictures there.

Q: Who would you like to thank?

A: Definitely Craig DeVine. Excellent teacher. He retired. I was glad we got him for the last year that he was at Mountlake Terrace. Also Jack Gilbert (our project mentor), definitely glad that he stuck with us (until) the end.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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