Advancing the STEAM field through design


Using their skills to manufacture change in the world, seniors Natalie Nyuang and Katherine Wang represented Diamond Bar High School in a SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing competition, taking home first place in state and sixth place at the national level.

Following their enrollment in Architecture Design at DBHS, Nyuang and Wang were told about the competition by their teacher, An Tran, who inspired them to apply what they had learned in class to a competition setting. During a three hour time period, Nyuang and Wang were required to design and complete a functional product inspiration to submit for scoring.

“We wanted to design a product that could help humanity as well [as] improve the environment,” Nyuang said via email. “We decided to create a tracking device that is made especially for first responders and contains eco-friendly materials.”

From selecting prime materials to designing the product digitally, the duo created a tracking device for the firefighters working to tame California wildfires. The device, which locates first responders, also sends emergency alerts to other trackers in the area. 

As the first people from DBHS to compete in this particular category, Nyuang and Wang had to learn new skills in order to prepare for the competition. Not only this, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the two were also challenged with learning the necessary skills remotely. 

“At first, I did not know how to create an engineering notebook, so I researched online and asked the people around me,” Wang said via email, “Eventually I found out how it was supposed to be formatted and what went in the notebook, and was able to apply it into the competition.”

Another key skill the two became proficient in was using Computer Aided Design, a software created for 3D printing. While Tran aided her students in designing simple to complex models using this program, Nyuang and Wang furthered their understanding by utilizing online resources, such as YouTube.

“Being able to CAD inspires me to make products that can help people or advance our technology,” Nyuang said. “I enjoy creating 3D models where I can design anything I want, and being able to print them out in a 3D printer and use it fascinates me,” 

Looking toward their futures, Nyuang and Wang plan on competing in the same competition this year, along with junior Allison Yuh. They both plan on pursuing higher education in the science and engineering fields. 

“With this experience and my interests, I believe that I now have a better understanding of what I am good at as well as what I am not, and it will definitely help me in the future when I’m deciding my career path,” Wang said. “I think that this field is really interesting because it brings all parts of STEAM together, and it is really amazing to see how they all work together to have a great impact on the world.”