Layton student draws a better future for himself, other teens

May 30 2012 - 10:42pm

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Austen Fowler won a $1,500 scholarship for his work on a teen transition center design in a national contest.
Austen Fowler won a $1,500 scholarship for his work on a teen transition center design in a national contest.

LAYTON -- Eighteen-year-old Austen Fowler is $1,500 richer. He recently won scholarship money and was handed an oversized check during class at Layton High School.

The money came from the National Association of Women in Construction Education Foundation CAD/Design/Drafting Scholarship Award Competition for high school students.

Although this is a women's organization, any high school student may compete.

Jana Cochell, who is with Big-D Construction and is the NAWIC representative for Utah, said Fowler is the first Utahn to win the award. Big D is the sponsor of the program in Utah.

"He is a national winner, I like that," said Rick Astle, principal of Layton High School.

The contest begins with a local competition, with high schools throughout the state invited to participate. Three high schools in Utah competed this year: Layton High, Cottonwood High and Hunter High.

"The students had to download the design problem and be the architect," Cochell said.

The problem was to design a home for teenagers in transition. The facility will be called Teenbridge and is to keep teens whose parents are deceased or in prison out of the traditional foster care system.

The challenge was to design a home according to specific guidelines. It had to be designed for teens of all abilities, including those with special needs, such as wheelchair accessibility. Such features as bathrooms and bedrooms, laundry room, a kitchen with a family eating area, and storage space, had to be included in the design.

Fowler had to draw a floor plan, exterior elevations of the home, a site plan and electrical plan.

"Austen actually included a 3-D drawing as part of his plans, which were extremely well done," said Cochell.

Fowler was honored at a dinner with parents, teachers, and judges for winning the regional competition. He is the son of Shannon Crose and Matthew Fowler. He received a $200 check from the local NAWIC.

During the presentation in the CAD engineering lab at Layton High, his teacher put the rendering of the outside of the building Fowler designed on a computer for everyone to see. His drawings also were made available for viewing.

"I can just say I have never had a student produce plans like those. You can look through those and understand exactly why he won the award," said teacher Tim Feltner.

Fowler, a senior, already has plans beyond graduation. He has a full-ride scholarship to University of Utah and will be attending engineering classes there.

"I've always been into design," Fowler said. "I will be doing civil engineering and architecture classes."

The project for NAWIC took him a good part of the school year to complete.

"I spent time in class every other day for three terms, working on it," Fowler said. "This was all new to me. I have never designed (something) like this before."

"Austen is very teachable. He is always (a top student), because he listens," Feltner said.

Fowler said he did some freehand sketches before using CAD.

He also credits Feltner, saying, "I have a great teacher."

And what will he be using the $1,500 for?

"It will help me get a laptop for college."

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