“School of the Future” Uses SOLIDWORKS CAD and PDM Professional from GoEngineer

by Joseph Cutrona

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA is a four-year integrated course of study in physics, computer science, art, and engineering design. Every year 100 students, of about 300 who apply, are selected to enter the freshman class.

This past summer I helped install SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional at the school. The first time I talked to teacher Lyle Harlow, I knew it was going to be fun to work with him. Lyle has a passion for engineering and enjoys teaching others about it. He loves the variety and imagination and creativity he experiences every day at Dos Pueblos.


As you might imagine, with up to 100 students using SOLIDWORKS at one time, and with student projects having over 500 components, the DPEA needed to move from SOLIDWORKS PDM Workgroup to PDM Professional. We picked a week in July for setup because the kids would be out of class. Matthew Berg — one of last year’s best and brightest students at DPEA — also helped with the new PDM install, and his input turned out to be a critical part of the work we were doing.

Guys like Matthew and Lyle make my job easy. We talked through some basic PDM questions about how to create, organize, and route files related to design. Lyle says that PDM professional has helped organize and “tame” the PDM vault. And with past senior projects such as the Carousel of Physics which consisted of over 50,000 parts, PDM will help the students keep everything organized in future projects.

Inspiration and Community

While I was there, we were able to tour and take a look at the projects and labs. They have a full machine shop, full PCB assembly lab, and multiple CAD labs. The classrooms and labs are modest, but nothing is missing. Every tool is in its place and labeled neatly.

It takes a community of people to build an amazing company or an amazing product, and it’s remarkable that the same sense of community is present in the classroom at Dos Pueblos.

The students that are fortunate enough to be part of this program walk away with much more than design or manufacturing skills, they learn through doing actual projects how to become real-world problem solvers.

This place is really inspiring.

Dos Pueblos Fast Facts

The school has 100 SOLIDWORKS capable workstations and 200 SOLIDWORKS Premium licenses. All 400 students (freshman through seniors) in the program use SOLIDWORKS.

Since its establishment in 2002, the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy has experienced profound growth both in vision and impact while continuing to provide the very best in project-based education.

  • Four-year STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) “school within a school”
  • Enrolls 400 students (100+ per class)
  • State-of-the-art facility
  • Equal distribution of male and female students
  • ALL graduating students go to college
  • Eighty-four percent of students enter STEAM majors
  • Long track record of sending students to UC campuses along with public and private colleges across the country such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and others
  • Nationally recognized leader in project- and design-based education
  • Featured on PBS NOVA special: School of the Future (go to time marker 1:39:20)

GoEngineer is proud to support students and faculty at DPEA who are shaping our world—today and for the future!


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