Engineering a great future for himself

Posted in: Society
By Kaye Collier
Jan 3, 2013 - 8:34:47 AM

Noé RuizNoé Ruiz has his sights set on a career in engineering—more specifically, on becoming a mechanical engineer.
It’s a good fit for the dark-eyed Central High senior for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he is exceptionally good at math and science. He also enjoys being outside, working with his hands and staying busy.
This last trait, he conjectured last week, is inherited from his father. Faustino Ruiz is a study in perpetual motion, even, as his son pointed out, when he’s “injured or sick.”
“I like to say I’m a hard worker,” Noé observed. “If there’s something I set my mind to, I try to get it done as best I can—although,” he confessed, “I’ve been known for my procrastination, too.”
The personable 17-year-old was recently named Student of the Month at Red River Tech Center by the Duncan Noon Lions Club.
Noé    is currently in his second year of the tech center’s Pre-Engineering Academy, a two-year curriculum for juniors and seniors in area high schools.
He is one of only nine seniors enrolled in the program. A student becomes a part of the pre-engineering classes only through application and acceptance.
Noé’s skills in math and science secured him a place in the program; and thus far, his academic performance in the assigned courses has been remarkable. For example, during the semester just completed, he earned A’s in both AP calculus and a course titled “engineering design and development.”
Students in the latter course were expected to adopt individual projects in which each was to explore a perceived design problem in a product and find a solution. Noé developed a method for cooling fields covered in artificial turf, but he said he hasn’t had an opportunity to demonstrate it.
As a junior, Noé was enrolled in the academy’s courses of AP pre-physics, AP pre-calculus, introduction to engineering design, and principles of engineering. And this spring, he will take AP physics and digital electronics.
In response to an observation that all this was pretty heady stuff, he smiled, nodded in affirmation and replied quietly, “Oh, yes.”
The pre-engineering curriculum includes two 1½-hour classes each morning that begin at 8:15 and conclude at 11:05, he said.
Oh, but this isn’t the end of Noé’s school day. After a brief lunch break, he returns to Central High School for afternoon classes in government, English and ag, with band and phys ed on alternate days.
And if all this weren’t enough to boggle even a brilliant mind like Noé’s, he goes back for more.
He is active in the pre-engineering academy’s robotics chapter at Red River Tech, which meets in the late-afternoon/early-evening hours. The program is free, optional and open to any interested student.
Sometime early this month, approximately 15 young robotics enthusiasts, Noé among them, along with five mentors, will gather for their first meeting of the BOTS season.
The design sessions will continue on a regular basis for the next several months, culminating in a competition in the spring attracting teams from across the nation.
Last year, Noé noted with justified pride, his team’s “bot” placed sixth in a field of 60 or 70.
Academics, sports
and music, too
Despite these relentless dawn-to-long-after-dark days, Noé still finds time to do homework and participate in Broncho sports.
“Pretty much every day, we had some kind of calculus homework,” he said, referring to this past semester.
His athletic pursuits include football, basketball and track.
This fall, he dislocated a shoulder—twice—during football season. He has played basketball since sixth grade, and will compete in track for the fifth or sixth year in the spring. As a sophomore, he was named Central High’s distinguished male athlete in track. And at one time, he was involved in powerlifting.
Noé’s also quite a scholar, with an ACT score of 27 and a propensity for qualifying for the CHS honor roll.
His involvement in Central’s FFA program consists primarily of serving on one of the chapter’s land-judging teams.
An accomplished musician, he plays trumpet in the Broncho band and for three consecutive years, auditioned and was tapped for the Shortgrass, SCOBDA and All-Region honor bands. However, with so many other irons in his fire, he has recently limited his efforts to trying out for the SCOBDA band and has been accepted each time.
At Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispaña (First Hispanic Baptist Church) in Duncan, where he and his family are members, Noé sometimes plays bass guitar with the church band and customarily serves as sound technician. He is also active in the church’s youth group.
Pastimes include reading, particularly action books by Anthony Horowitz and Rick Riordan; bass fishing; and watching movies, with comedies, mysteries and action flicks his favorites.
And oh yes, another is staying in touch with his girlfriend, Tatum Miles of Oklahoma City, through texts and phone calls.
His community involvement has included assisting with the World Changers program, volunteering with Central High’s food distribution program, and helping to make improvements to homes through his church’s youth group.
A proud heritage
Noé made his arrival on August 24, 1995, in Duncan to Faustino and Francisca Ruiz, both of whom were born in Mexico. Because of his heritage, he is bilingual, but admitted that he’s more proficient in English than in Spanish. He and his two younger brothers, 15-year-old Josué and 11-year-old Moises, have grown up in the schools at Central High.
Both of Noé’s parents are employed at the school. His father is in charge of maintenance, and his mother is a member of the janitorial staff.
Faustino is a naturalized citizen, Noé said, and Francisca has residency status. A close-knit family, the Ruizes have relatives living in Stillwater.
In the course of the interview, Noé indicated that he was an optimist.
“I like to see the better side of things, even in ‘down’ situations,” he explained.
A personable young man, he admitted that he is shy around strangers, but becomes “more of a ‘people person’ after I get to know them.”
Noé has already been accepted to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, where he will seek a bachelor of science in physics of engineering or engineering technologies.
He has already been approved for a Distinguished Freshman Scholarship through the university and an Oklahoma’s Promise, or OHLAP, scholarship. And he plans to apply for additional assistance.
The knowledge that he is acquiring through the pre-engineering academy, as well as in his high school math and science courses, are giving him a solid foundation on which to build once he begins his studies at SWOSU.
Moreover, he has already earned some college credit through the curriculum at Red River Tech, he said.
Of the various engineering fields, Noé indicated that he is looking most closely at mechanical engineering and that he would prefer to find success in his chosen profession right here in his home state.
Obviously, such a decision would be an asset to Oklahoma.