As I am applying to MSEL, the only class that I knew anything about was a class called engineering with some teacher named Ms. Oropallo. Little did I know at the time that she would become one of my favorite teachers and the class would be the only reason why I was really excited to go to school on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Team is laying out a wall

The first day of junior year was filled with excitement, but the only class I wanted to go to that day was engineering and I had to wait till the end of the day when it was finally 6th period. When we got to the class Ms.Oropallo greeted us with her ecstatic personality and explained to us our big project for the year which was chicken coops, but we had to start small first so we each created a spoon. The first thought I had when we got handed this project, was how am I going to do this and what is it going to look like? I started out slow by simply drawing a design that I thought was nice and then I made marks as to where I would make my relief cuts. I then transferred it to wood and began the process of turning an ordinary piece of wood into a beautiful spoon.
Throughout the spoon process I faced many ups and downs, but with the downs came a whole new design. As I began cutting out my spoon there were some parts that I cut out perfectly and some that turned out horribly wrong. Because of those horribly wrong cuts I was able to learn to move around it and cut it into a whole different idea. The many things that I took away from this project is that you can’t always be a perfectionist in engineering and because of that I learned that not everything has to be done perfectly even though in every other class everything has to be done perfectly in my perspective.

Madeline measures for nesting boxes

The chicken coop project is our long term project and we get to design and create a chicken coop that we are eventually going to sell later in April. My group has two other people besides me and they are Chris and Madeline. We are a very cohesive group and are able to work with each other well and we all share our ideas and implement them into the final product. So far our chicken coop is coming out great we have put the basics together. This whole process hasn’t been easy and it takes a lot of precision. At first we had no idea what we wanted to do so we kept spitting out as many ideas as possible and finally came to a conclusion of what we wanted our coop to look like. Your basic chicken coop with a living roof and a skylight. Before we even started the building process we went on a field trip to two different places to collect used materials for our coop. The first stop was Urban Ore in Berkeley and we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted but we did find a couple of windows and a couple of decorations. At the Away Station in Fairfax we found more decorations and we were able to feel like our coop was off to a good start even though we hadn’t started building it at the time.The building experience has been a roller coaster, but everyday as a group we make the most of it and have had many laughs as we get through each day.

Friends clean bird poop

It’s almost been halfway through the year and I’ve learned many things about engineering and it has made me think of a potential career path for me since I have developed a love for group work and building. I still have many things to learn but with the current knowledge I have I am able to build a chicken coop so far and I hope to be able to continue building things outside of the class.


  1. Maya, there have been some challenges in the process of building our coop, but I am glad we were able to find a solution. I am grateful to have you in my group and I think that our chicken coop is turning out great despite the challenges we have run into.

  2. Your blog is very well written and I agree with a lot of the things you said. My spoon didn’t come out the way i wanted it to either, but I like how you stayed optimistic and turned it into somethig else.

  3. I agree, the spoon project is such a great way to start of an engineering class. It not only gets you comfortable using your hands, but also builds a respect and patience for the craft of wood working. I also thought that the Urban Ore field trip was super cool!

  4. Even just the name engineering does sound very intriguing, especially when we all have heard so many great things about the class. I know I am definitely looking forward to this class every wednesday and friday!! I messed up on my spoon too, ssshhhhhh 🙂

  5. i liked how you were able to take your mistakes and wrong cuts on your spoon to create a new design! I think thats a good poitive way to deal with problems. Also cute picture with chris and the bird poop haha

  6. Very well written. This was also one of the only classes I knew about going into the program. It’s great that this class has had so much of an impact on you that you are considering it as a career path.

  7. Great job Maya I love it! I can totally relate to the perfectionist part because I kind of freak out a little if the boards don’t fit perfectly or if it has a crack in it because I want my coop to look PERFECT. The picture of you and Chris is hilarious!

  8. Maya this was beautifully written, I’m glad you are taking a class you enjoy and learning things from your mistakes. Learning from failures might be one of the hardest yet most recurring aspects of life, I think its wonderful you have come to this realization and are persevering with positivity.

  9. I agree with a lot of the things you described and I also believe engineering does not have to do with perfection but patience and persistence because things don’t always go as planned, and being flexible is a big part of this class. Thank god for Ms. O!

  10. Great blog Maya! I totally relate to this class being the only reason to get up in the morning. Im sure the roller coaster for the building process will be worth it in the end, and that you guys will make a great chicken coop!

  11. Awesome post Maya! I would only recommend explaining what some of the terms mean (like relief cuts) because people who aren’t in our class won’t know what they are. Amazing pictures, and fun to watch the building process!

  12. First off, love the photos! They’re pretty funny (of madeline especially). It really is clear how much our class comes together during engineering and how much it matters to each of us! It really does make me think of all the potential careers outside of what we know, and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish and end up doing! You are fantastic, Maya!

  13. I really liked your post, it was very relatable. I can totally agree with your title. I think it’s so cool that your learning so many new things and want to keep continuing with what you have learned.

  14. I totally agree with you about the biggest reason I come to school on Wednesday and Fridays is because of engineering. All we do during fourth period is talk about what we are going to do during engineering! It’s so cool to think that this one class has changed your perspective on what career you want to do!

  15. Loved the title Maya! I think everyone can agree that even though we planned something out that it didn’t turn out exactly how we wanted it to, but you make it into something else that’s just as great.

  16. I think its awesome how you are considering a new career path because of this class! I also want to keep building after this year because I feel like we all have the skills to do that now. I also like your blog’s title. Its very true.

  17. I liked reading about your perspective of the class and your own experiences with our various projects in the class so far. I liked your bird poo picture. In addition, I can totally relate to the perfectionist aspect, but I still can’t let anything less than perfect go very easily.

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