So far in engineering…..
We have grown tremendously as a class to obtain the skills we need for Inventor, communication, and responsibility throughout this year. Using those skills we set out to implement them by making a bunch of designs like what the fence is going to look like.  Today in engineering, several of the workers from Energy Recovery visited us in our class so they can hear us talk about everything we learned and to thank them for inviting us to Energy Recovery. Everyone was so welcome and engaging there. As a thank you, we gave them 3-D pictures of all of us around the Energy Recovery logo. Here are a few pictures of our Marin SEL class thanking and interacting with Energy Recovery.

Telling a story through pictures… As Ms. Oropallo turns on the fan powering the wind turbine, students intensely admire the project shown before them. Onlooking with great enthusiasm, students marvel at their creation. With hours spent online with Autodesk Inventor, all the tears, sweat and stress paid off. The moment Ms.Oropallo appeared with the 3D printed turbine, everyone was in awe. Although the model seemed quite small, it was still a miraculous invention to lay hands upon.  The second the fan was turned on, and the turbine began to spin, all eyes were occupied. Smiles swept across the teenagers’ faces and the approving glances from Ms.Oropallo and the volunteers was a sight to be seen. As the turbine continued to spin, the volt meter hit 70 and all eyes lit up. It was the fastest contraption the class had seen yet. Crowding closer, students fought to get a peak of the rapid spinning. Cameras were snapping pictures from all around the room and everyone seemed impressed.

Earlier in preparing for the celebration, students supplied an elaborate course of junk food and chips to celebrate the new turbine, and soon the excitement and energy moved to the sweets laid across a work table. There was laughing, giggling and talking as everyone enjoyed their Thursday. Ms.Oropallo went around and talked to all the volunteers and thanked them for their support, as did the students. Many thanks were expressed and the crowd was grateful. The MarsinSEL family finally had something to be proud of, as it seemed all the hard work of the year paid off. What other class on campus was able to come together to 3D print a wind turbine, especially one that was successful. It took designing and testing. It took broken models and numerous tests. It took collaboration and creativity, and finally, perseverance. At the end of the day though, it seemed the real achievement was being proud as an MSEL family, in ourselves and our work.

In addition, has been going on exciting and educational field trips. On January 24th, our class traveled to the California Academy of Sciences to learn more about the history of science and to learn about the activities of many unique animals that surround us. In there, we went upstairs to the outdoor gardens and took some pictures. When we went back inside we admired all the plants and animals, like the birds and insects. My favorite part was trying to catch a butterfly. With enough patience, it peacefully landed on my finger. We also experienced what it would be like to live in the home during the San Francisco in 1906. Everyone started to freak out (in a good way of course) because the room that we were in started to shake, so it felt like a mini ride in disneyland. I never realized how intense the impact of this earthquake was for people of that time. I also loved to watch the snorkelers swim with the different underwater mammals. It would be fun to help the penguins and maybe even train them to do fun tricks. They are already very smart. Some of them are entertaining to watch. Basically, from a person’s point of view they are diving and swimming in the water. It takes a while for them to get the courage to finally dive into the water. In conclusion, these penguins made me way more interested in their daily lives and activities. And don’t even start me on the food in the Academy of Sciences. Absolutely delicious: cooked carrots, mashed potatoes, etc.

Besides marveling at the food, our class spent about 30 min. watching the mini show in the planetarium. The screen was ginormous! It actually seemed like we were all in a small spaceship, traveling through the galaxy. The whole show was information about the past, present, and future of our galaxy. All the stars and planets were so mesmerizing, that it felt as if we were all in a trance. This show doesn’t even need 3D glasses to get you completely hooked on to the scream. I felt as if the little pieces of space rock would hit me in the face (of course it didn’t ha ha…..). All in all, our the field trip was definitely worth going and I would recommend anyone to go if they were interested!

People seen in the pictures above:

Mael Sherman

Meredith Esposto

Claire Parkinson

Alex Theodossiou (Energy Recovery Engineer)

Jason Lee (Energy Recovery Engineer)

Dorian Stocking

Natalia Fernandez

Allison Oropallo (MSEL Engineering teacher)

Cheyenne Biel

Ember Vosmek-Park

Ani Pirinjian

Edwin Mira

John Toomey

Lucas Culbertson

Dylan Adler

Sofia Ruiz


Special Thanks to:

Jason Lee (Energy Recovery Engineer)

Alex Theodossiou (Energy Recovery Engineer)

Allison Oropallo (MSEL Engineering teacher)

Tom Rooney (Energy Recovery CEO)

Kristan Kirsh (Energy Recovery Marketing)

Gary Hercules (Autodesk Volunteer)

By, Megan Harvey and Joanmarie Swanson


  1. HEY JOANMARIE. I really like how much detail you had in your blog. It was also very nice to read and be able to remember all those great, crazy times! Great job, summing everything up, and keeping is all entertained 🙂

  2. This blog is great! You describe the process of the celebration and how it all went and how much we have learned from engineering and all of the skills we are going to take into the real world! By far one of the bet days in engineering!

  3. Great description of the wind turbine event and the visit to the CAoS . Your language really makes one feel like they are seeing the events in person as they unfold. My only advice would be to throw in some more humor or references to things outside of MSEL. Great job though.

  4. Love all the pictures! We have really had some awesome field trips this year: Energy Recovery’s HQ, the Academy of Sciences…(the aquarium was so cool!!) Hope we will have more before the year ends.

  5. Great blog Jo! That week was so much fun! Having the cermeno/meeting with Auto desk and Energy Recovery was great. It was a great way to end this project. Learning Auto desk inventor was probably the hardest But also the funest! This was a great skill to learn. The food celebration was great due to the enormous amount of food. We all love food.

  6. Wow Jim! I loved all of the description and imagery. I had so much fun when Energy Recovery came to our class, and when we went on the field trip to the California Academy of Sciences! Plus both events had great food! We should be penguin trainers together. I think it’s a very valid career choice.
    I hadn’t really thought about it before, but you have a great point about the individuality of this program. I doubt any other class had been working on printing a wind turbine with a 3D printer, so it’s basically amazing that we got to do it!

  7. I love how you had a lot of pictures in the blog! You guys also did a really good job explaining the reactions of everybody when the wind turbine turned out to work even better than we though it would. Nice job!

  8. Joanmarie, your blog was great! I remember how excited we all were that all the people who had helped us create prototypes and the actual model were all with us in the classroom. I liked how you wrote about the moment when the fan turned on and we got to see all our work come together. Awesome job!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.