Meet a teacher: Scott Meredith prepares Peddie students to engineer the future

Scott Meredith never pictured himself working in a re-purposed boiler plant. But when he came to Peddie, that's exactly where he found himself. And the director of what is now known as the Izzo Design Laboratory thought it was the perfect spot. 

"It is a fantastic re-appropriation of space, allowing Peddie students to have direct access and experience working with tools that most college engineering majors may not use until their junior or senior year," Meredith said.

Robotics teacher Scott Meredith with students

Meredith works with students on desktops equipped with 2D/3D CAD software for use in designing, developing and fabricating projects.

The lab is perfect for open-ended, project-based learning that inspires invention, creation and experimentation across the curriculum. It's even open for student projects outside of class.

Designed for students to move easily from one space to the next, the building allows students to begin the creative process in the design studio, a classroom space located on the ground floor, where they learn the foundations of building, creating, designing and programming. They then move to the engineering studio, which houses the majority of the equipment and machinery, including a laser cutter, 3D printer and computer numerically controlled (CNC) mill, router and lathe.

Upstairs, the 1,000 square-foot testing studio is where prototypes come alive. Students experiment with their creations in a safe and open environment while faculty provide insight and guidance in real-time.

These courses are aimed primarily at students with a strong STEM focus and a strong math, science and/or physics background. But what's unique at Peddie is that there is an even distribution of students from all grades — they are not limited to juniors and seniors.”

Coursework in the lab includes Introduction to Robotics, Digital Fabrication and Engineering Design. These courses are complemented by an array of programming and computer science classes offered by the math department. 

"Our Engineering Design courses are essentially 'varsity robotics.'" explained Meredith. "These courses are aimed primarily at students with a strong STEM focus and a strong math, science and/or physics background. But what's unique at Peddie is that there is an even distribution of students from all grades — they are not limited to juniors and seniors."

Ninth and tenth graders take the class to prepare for competition; they can continue to compete on the Robotics team during the following years as their extra-curricular activity and also consider upper-level electives.

The robotics team at Peddie competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition each year. FIRST is an international organization that uses competitive robotics as a vehicle for promoting science and technology.

"It's an incredible program," said Meredith. "Robotics is an exciting technology and FIRST is a fantastic way to inspire leaders, not only in technology and engineering, but in the Peddie and greater communities. Students will be limited only by their own imagination."