WBBM Newsradio/Terry Keshner

Westinghouse College Prep: Making Tomorrow's Tech Scholars

October 06, 2018 - 6:00 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The blueprints for Chicago's future are being drawn up at a high school on the West Side.

In 2015, F.H. Paschen Engineering initiated a partnership with Westinghouse College Prep focusing on engineering and STEM-related fields. The Paschen Scholar program is a three-year internship program focused on supporting students interested in the engineering, construction, and architecture fields. Every year, six students enter the program and receive guidance and insight.

On a recent afternoon, WBBM's Terry Keshner visited with some of those students at the Westinghouse campus on the 3200 block of West Franklin.

Junior Diana Mendoza said meeting with professionals who know about coding and other important tools help her focus her studies and career.

"Everybody we meet at Paschen always gives us their story. It's really inspiring,” Mendoza said.

Westinghouse senior Justino Martinez has an eye on the sky, noting that some of Chicago's most iconic skyscrapers, like the Aqua Tower, keep him focused.

Sophomore Delia Hernandez told WBBM finds math interesting.

“And that's how I got my interest, building things in the backyard of my house with my Dad."

Sophomore Mahri Figueroa tells WBBM: “My area where I live is changing a lot and so I love to see what's changing and how. I like to see how they go from one stage to the next."

Sophomore Shayla Turnbough is a future coder.

"Later in life I want to use coding to design apps and also be able to build different things that will influence sports or fight diseases."

Antonia Winfrey is a project manager with F.H. Paschen. She said she wants to “spark an interest in engineering (in these students), be it construction or otherwise."

Westinghouse High School teacher Ryan Kinney says the school's diversity is its strength.

"Here at Westinghouse we get to draw from all of CPS. We have scholars from Rogers Park, and people live on the Far South Side, the West Side and across the street. You see all kinds of people, it is Chicago. They're hard workers who come from hard working families, and it's so impressive to see Chicago in this form in these students."

Westinghouse Assistant Principal Cynthia Leung tells WBBM that the program is "creating leaders in society that really represent what the society looks like. It's really cool. We need to give all these kids a chance to lead."