Jack Vandermolen’s favorite verse is 2 Timothy 1:7: “For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
It’s a fitting verse for the junior who recently clinched the WYSE State Championship in engineering graphics, outscoring students from schools such as the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and Wheaton Academy. WYSE, or World-Wide Youth in Science and Engineering, is an international program based at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and hosts an annual academic challenge competition. The goal of WYSE is to help students prepare for careers in engineering and the sciences.
Timothy’s WYSE team notably took fourth place overall at the annual state tournament. Individuals also won: Noah Bezanson earned a fourth place in engineering graphics, Trevor Hoogendoorn and Thomas Jenkins tied for second place in physics, and Daniel Kuiper placed fifth in physics.
“I got interested in engineering when I joined the robotics team in junior high,” Jack explains. “I took a mechanical drawing class in high school and I knew I wanted to be an engineer. Then I joined WYSE and learned even more.”
It’s his self-discipline that helped him earn a state title in engineering graphics. Preparing for a WYSE test is no easy task. But with the help of Mr. Rink, who is a physics teacher, Scholastic Bowl coach, and the WYSE coach, Jack spent hours pouring over tests from previous years, answering questions, and studying engineering textbooks.
His dedication paid off. The test was only 40 minutes long. But he had to answer 40 questions, leaving little time to be timid and indecisive about his answers. He answered questions such as: How do you get the dihedral angle of a v-groove? A large portion of the test was looking at the orthographic projection of an object, or in layman’s terms, looking at an object that is mapped using parallel lines to project its shape onto a plane. But, for the test, part of the object was missing.
It’s this natural God-given gift to see the world from a perspective of different angles, and to understand how things work, that has pushed Jack to hone his gift. He hopes to be back at the WYSE competition next year, while also looking at colleges and engineering programs.
While he’s looking forward to his senior year at Timothy, Jack knows he’s well-prepared for his next step academically. “I have been attending Timothy since preschool,” Jack says. “The really great thing about Timothy is the teachers are interested in your success—even if you’re not in their class. Faith is ingrained in all the courses and that makes a big difference in education. They teach you how to apply the Bible to your life. It’s helped me learn that my faith is at my very core.”