Student Highlight: Josiah Pursues His Passion For Mechanical Engineering

Josiah has been a student at Sora for a year now. He loves mechanical engineering and working with his hands. He shares how Sora helps him receive high school credit for doing what he loves: building new exciting creations.


John: Welcome, Josiah. Tell us about your schooling background before Sora. 

Josiah: Before Sora, I was homeschooled. It fit pretty well with what I needed. The main issue was being able to get credit for my projects. We couldn’t figure out how to get credit for what I like doing besides basic Math and English. I joined Sora because it’s project-based. I’ve always loved to build stuff. I like engineering, design, and machinery. Being able to do that and get credit for it was perfect for me. 

John: What was it like for you as a new student when you first joined Sora?

Josiah: I always felt like I fit in. I never felt like a new student. When I joined and got assigned to a house, I didn’t feel out of place. I felt like it fit. It was mostly being around people with similar interests. I probably know one or two people outside of Sora who have interests similar to mine. So it’s neat to be around people and talk to people who are interested in the same things as I am. 

John: What has it meant to you to work with like-minded peers?

Josiah: It’s helped me become more open about my interests. I’ve gotten used to going to other people to get help. Sometimes I’ll have a problem or a question about something that I’m working on. It’s made me more comfortable going to somebody and saying, “Hey, do you have an idea for how to overcome this issue with what I’m building?” 

John: So Sora’s given you a space to practice communication and collaboration skills, asking for help on problems that you’re trying to solve.

Josiah: Right. 

John: You mentioned that the projects at Sora were one of the biggest appeals for you. I’d love for you to share about one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on. 

Josiah: One of my favorites didn’t turn out quite how I had hoped, but it was very interesting to learn about. It was thermite casting. I found out that thermite was used for welding railroad tracks together, and I wanted to see if I could use it to make cast iron parts. That was one of my favorites because of the interesting chemistry. I don’t tend to get into chemistry projects, but I had to in this case to make cast iron parts. 

John: It sounds like this project helped you appreciate a subject that you wouldn’t be as interested in otherwise. I think it’s interesting that this was one of your favorite projects, even though it didn’t turn out how you had hoped. Tell us more about that emphasis on process over result.

Josiah: It’s the learning experience. If a project doesn’t go well, that gives me something that I can improve on in the future. Maybe I can revisit it as another project to make it work properly. I get to figure out why it didn’t work and what I can do better next time. I like to improve on things that have already been done. This thermite project gave me a basis to improve on because it didn’t go as I planned. I still came out of it with the need for cast iron parts, so I decided to build a blast furnace [as a follow-up project]. 

John: I’m sure Sora’s mastery-based style of assessment helps to support your focus on the learning process. It’s less about grades and more about demonstrating that you’ve gained a skill.

Josiah: Yeah, I’ve still learned the skill, even if the outcome wasn’t exactly as expected.

John: Is there anything you’d like to share with people considering Sora?

Josiah: I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have specific interests and have a hard time finding people who understand them. Also, if you like doing projects. If you have something that you like working on, it’s a great opportunity to do projects based on that [interest] and get credit for it.

Interested In Learning More?

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