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Jacklyne Snyder

Aspiring Aerospace Engineer Cooking Up Ideas for the Future

Low Moor, VA (May 13, 2024) - What does the culinary program at Jackson River Technical Center have to do with aerospace engineering?

That’s a good question – and it has an answer when it comes to Alleghany High School senior Jacklyne Snyder. Snyder is a hands-on learner and a science enthusiast at heart. Anyone who talks with her will quickly discover she is a well-rounded student. And her passion for learning is contagious! 

Snyder is an honor graduate member of the AHS class of 2024 — and she aspires to be an aerospace engineer.  She transferred to Alleghany from the Roanoke area during her sophomore year, and she takes culinary classes at Jackson River Technology Center (JRTC). In her spare time, she works as a manager at the Covington Taco Bell.      

Culinary appeals to her sense of independence and wanting to know how things are done. It’s that same sense of independence that draws her to the study of space, one of her favorite high school classes having been physics. She enjoys the difficulty of the sciences and enjoys thinking about the abstract nature of calculus.  

Attracted to outer space as an alternative source for resources humanity may need in the future, Snyder enjoys thinking about engineering in relation to space. And she is able to articulate the importance of ethics in the use of technology. In fact, Snyder looks forward to influencing technology in positive and productive ways. 

As part of her preparation for becoming an aerospace engineer, she is interning with Covington-based IVO Limited, an electronic hardware research and development company. Snyder’s internship with IVO Limited centered on drone technology.

“We develop and test prototypes for cutting edge technologies — either for our own technology or for outside companies,” said Richard Mansell, the CEO of IVO Limited. 

Snyder’s internship with IVO was made possible through Alleghany Highlands Public Schools’ work-based learning program. AHPS uses work-based learning to collaboratively connect employers with schools to provide structured learning experiences for students. Snyder says she is fascinated by the opportunity work-based learning has provided her. Her internship came about after she approached Seth Bradley, who serves as the work-based learning coordinator for AHPS. 

“Snyder has been a great fit as an intern,” Mansell said. “She learns quickly and desires to learn new concepts and skills.  She has helped with soldering and assembly of electrical components. She has also helped with the cutting and assembly of structural components. Sometimes, she was doing a lot of repetitive tasks, but never complained about getting a ‘small’ or ‘boring’ assignment. She is willing to try new things which is fantastic because we are always trying new things around here. She worked mostly with our drone prototyping program.”

Mansell, also a pastor, co-founded IVO Limited after he came to the Highlands from North Carolina in 2011. Mansell has partnered with AHPS to engage students in technological research and development. Earlier this school year, he visited the AHS Agriculture Department to demonstrate how drones are being used in a wide range of agricultural applications.

“It has been great having an intern here,” Mansell said of his experience of interning Snyder. 

“Of course having an intern means some of my productivity is cut due to having to stop and train the interns. At the same time, I love teaching and this has been incredibly rewarding.  Hopefully by taking the time to train others in the next generation, we can multiply our efforts!  We look forward to having more interns in the future,” he said.

As an intern with IVO Limited, Snyder specifically works on drones for which patents are being applied. She is learning how to assess engineering projects for their viability and scope through the engineering-design process. Her experiences include working with computer-aided design given that she has some coding background. 

“I am able to execute things better when I can actively perform the task,” Snyder said of her approach to engineering and learning.  

She has benefitted from early exposure to career planning before her move to the Alleghany Highlands, and here, she’s been able to explore her interests with AHS and JRTC’s individualized approach to her interests.  

She’ll be headed to the University of Kentucky in the fall, looking forward to spending more time in a city environment.  While she has family connections to the Lexington, Ky. area, she also appreciates the unique culture of the campus. UK will offer the opportunity to live with other engineering students in a specialized dorm.  While studying, she also hopes to play club volleyball, and she looks forward to doing research with professors as an undergraduate.  

Snyder is fascinated by naturally-occurring phenomena that often exist in the background of our lives, hoping to help others think about these differently and use them for the benefit of humanity. She speaks about this topic with passion, acknowledging that even forces most people take for granted, such as gravity, can possibly be more helpful in meeting human needs.

Naturally interested in leadership, she believes that authority must be used for good as well.  She looks forward to being able to influence science as a public figure.

“I believe in the need to be transparent,” she said.

She has learned a lot about leadership and trust from JRTC culinary instructor Chef Rob Feihle.  She describes his instructional style as one that promotes creative freedom in class. Students are provided a budget and other logistical guidance for projects, and then, students make decisions as appropriate.  She very much appreciates that Chef Fehle has taken time to connect with his students as individuals and knows her time in culinary has helped her become a better-rounded person.

Given its status as a smaller school division in a supportive community, AHPS is able to help students explore their interests even when those interests seem at first glance to be opposed to each other.  Snyder’s experience combining engineering topics and culinary arts is just one such example.  

“Jacklyne has had lots of success throughout the duration of her internship program. We are really appreciative of our employers, like Mr. Mansell, who are willing to allow our students to come into their workplace and not just see what it is they do, but actually let them get hands-on experience as well. Jacklyne has been able to see and work with lots of awesome technology and I am sure this experience will translate very well with her in her future endeavors,” Bradley said.

AHPS is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. The school division serves approximately 2,700 students. It was created through the July 21, 2022, merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center.

AHPS news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and Instagram at ahpublicschools. Information is also available at www.ahps.k12.va.us.

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