Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 6, 2004

Winsted youth spends part of summer studying aerodynamics

By Lynda Jensen

While others spent their summer playing in the sun, Ellen Korsbon of Winsted, 12, took time to build and fly her own radio-controlled airplane.

Korsbon took part in a week long course at the University of St. Thomas, studying plastics, electricity, machining, computer aided design, assembly, chemistry, physics, engineering and robotics.

She is a homeschooled student, and the daughter of Chris and Amy Korsbon.

The result was a model plane that took her three days to build, with a wing span of about four feet wide. It can reach heights of about a hundred feet, she said.

“Spotting it in the sky was hard,” she noted. “It was a lot of fun.”

She used a hot wire saw to cut wings out of sturdy Styrofoam, and assembled the fuselage. Next, she cut and bent aluminum for the rudder and elevators, thermo-formed the canopy and decorated the plane’s exterior.

The workshop included logging computer time with a flight simulator to become familiar with the remote devices used for flying the planes.

“The goal is to reach girls early enough to influence their choices of math, science and technical courses in middle and high school to prepare them to succeed in college-level science and engineering program, and then lead them into careers in manufacturing, engineering and technology,” commented Jim Winterer of St. Thomas.

She joined more than 40 other seventh grade girls throughout Minnesota in the workshop. Many of the other students were from the Twin Cities area, she noted.

The program is called Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer camp for girls, or STEPS. The students actually lived on campus for one week during the project.

Web design was also a featured workshop, which particularly took her interest, she said.

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