Green Bay Press-Gazette 2018 Academic Team: Nathaniel Schlueter, Bay Port High School
From the Green Bay Press Gazette
Nate is one of the kindest, selfless, resourceful, intelligent, and mature young men we have had attend our high school. He has an extreme amount of focus and drive that aid him in achieving his goals, but he does this honorably and gracefully. Teachers concur that, academically, Nate is one of the brightest students that has walked the halls of our school. Nate is not only an intelligent young man, but he also possesses a great sense of humor as well as a caring and positive attitude toward life and school. He is extremely well-liked by his peers and also by his teachers. He is a respectful, tenacious, and an extremely well-rounded individual.
Coaching legend Vince Lombardi is quoted as once having said: “The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.” I can say with absolute certainty that few young adults have as much spirit, drive and endurance as he does. Dynamic, confident, humble and intelligent, Nathaniel is an outstanding individual who will contribute more to our future society than any one of us can imagine.
— John Vandermause, school counselor
In his own words
Last summer, I built a rocket. Well, I really built two rockets, but only one of them could fly well. By chance, I came across a YouTube video on how to make a rocket powered by sugar and potassium nitrate, and I was intrigued. It took about two weeks to collect all of the materials I needed; some of the fuel ingredients were rather hard to find. I made my own rocket by cutting off part of the stem of an old lamp and gluing on fins and a makeshift nose cone.
The day after I finished the rocket, I drove to a vast, empty parking lot, thrilled to finally test and observe my work. I set the rocket on the ground a safe distance away from anything that could be damaged and lit the fuse. Smoke drifted away as the fuse slowly shrank. A loud whooshing erupted from the contraption, and smoke billowed from the exhaust port, highly reminiscent of the numerous NASA rocket launches I have watched online. The main difference between my launch and NASA’s was that my rocket failed to move at all. I drove home disappointed but not discouraged.
I resolved to improve my craft and achieve a successful launch. My second rocket had a lighter body made of a segment of PVC pipe. What’s more, it was capable of holding almost twice the fuel. On the day of the launch, I had high hopes. I held my breath as the fizzling, flaming tip of the fuse approached the rocket engine. This time, the rocket flew some 30 feet up in the air and about 50 off to the side. Though it was not perfect, this success brought me a gigantic smile and a sense of achievement. I had gotten the rocket to work!
Building a rocket was both a valuable experience and significant achievement for me. It was very fun for me to get my hands dirty and build something. Before this project, I had hardly any experience with woodworking or self-guided building. I believe that I gained a lot of common sense and practical knowledge during this process. I have always excelled in the classroom, but this is one of the first times I attempted a science-based project outside of school. While I was designing and building the rocket, I realized that what I was doing was a textbook example of the engineering process: finding a problem, determining the best solution, and carrying it out in the real world. Thus, I came to see the whole project as a personal challenge and a test of my ability to become a successful engineer. When the rocket worked, it validated my engineering aspirations and inspired me to continue to search for ways to apply knowledge from my classes in the real world.
— Nathaniel Schlueter
I am not entirely sure, but these are the two most likely paths: a) I go to a university and earn a master’s (probably) in chemical engineering, or b) I go to a university, earn a degree, and then work towards a Ph.D. (probably) in chemistry. If I go into engineering I will work in the private sector, but if I decide to do a Ph.D., I would like to conduct research or perhaps become a college professor.