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Cherokee Trail HS leads the nation in SOLIDWORKS certifications among high school students

students in Ben Neubel classCherokee Trail High School added another accolade to the Cougar Nation: the school has the most high school students certified in SOLIDWORKS in the United States. More than 33,500 academic institutions use and teach SOLIDWORKS and over 400,000 companies use the program, according to SOLIDWORKS. 

“I am still sort of speechless,” said Ben Nuebel, CT’s Department Coordinator for Engineering, Technology, & Computer Science. “The amount of energy our students put in to try and get these certifications is incredible, and we are so proud of the distinction. It means the world that what we do matters, and our students are recognized for it.”

SOLIDWORKS is a computer-aided design (CAD) software program used for 3D modeling and engineering design. As a district, there have been nearly 2,000 students who have received their SOLIDWORKS certifications.

“I love the user interface and the way they structure the features compared to other CAD software,” sophomore Benjamin Remien said. “There is also some simulation software that they have. It helped me simulate air flow and aerodynamics for my dragster project.”

Remien, like many other students in Mr. Nuebel’s class, is working on his SOLIDWORKS certification. It is something students can do outside of class to add to a resume. Remien is currently studying for the CSWE test, which is the highest level of certification someone can get for SOLIDWORKS and something that few professionals have accomplished.

CSWE list“I’ve had students go on and get credit for college classes, become teaching assistants, get internships and apprenticeships, get jobs because of these certifications,” Nuebel added.

In any given year, CT sees more than 100 students get certified in SOLIDWORKS. The software program helps students in a variety of different industries like mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, biomedical, video game design, small businesses, and more.

“My favorite project in SOLIDWORKS was our phone case project because it was very applicable to the real world,” junior Samantha Noesen said. “If it didn’t match up, it failed, so it taught us the industry standard.”

Some students come into Mr. Nuebel’s class with little or no experience. After three years, Noesen has seen how much more she’s progressed with SolidWorks.

“I learned how to make basic shapes, a line, a square, a box, and then moved on to more complicated shapes with round edges. This year, I’ve been able to create more natural shapes. I’ve also learned a lot about additive manufacturing in general with 3D prints.”

Certification is one way companies can see that students have expertise in the software. This program can catapult students into industries that they could see a career in.

“Anything that flies has been a big passion of mine and I would love to one day design parts for aerospace companies and help progress the aerospace industry,” Remien explained.

“I have plans to use it for 3D printing for myself or for the aerospace or mechanical engineering fields,” junior Logan Wade said. “It’s been a very useful tool, and I’ve been enjoying making things in general.”

In February, Mr. Nuebel spoke at a national conference, 3DExperience World 2024, about the impact the software has on his students.

“To see the growth of students not knowing anything about 3D design and buying into the idea that this is a valuable tool for the industry and buying in to get a certification,” Nuebel said. “It’s not a matter of can I do it, it’s a matter of how long it will take me to get these certifications. These certifications have opened many doors for them.”

students working on SolidWorksLogan Wade

Posted 3/5/2024.