Ex-engineer takes on new opportunity teaching STEM classes at ETA

By Gisselle Washington | Staff Writer |

Originally from a small town in Lake Jackson, Texas, Kevin Nardo attended UTSA to become a electrical engineer in 2014. He worked tremendously in his field, either troubleshooting and redirecting oil into various pipes or testing why certain pipes were failing. After a couple of years, Nardo chose to get involved into the business of education and teach the students of the Engineering and Technology Academy at Roosevelt High School with his background in STEM.

“So the decision to teach actually fully came around in both February of this past year,” Nardo said. “I’d always had some ideas of maybe wanting to try it at some point and then after I quit my last job in engineering, I was just kind of waiting around deciding what I was going to do next. So that’s when I decided to fully actually pursue teaching. It’s been really cool seeing a school that has so many different advanced offerings, kind of like here in the ETA program between like all the different robotic stuff that’s here.”

As a first year teacher, Mr. Nardo teaches three different courses including engineering math, robotics, and the aerospace class.

Mr. Nardo assists student Corbin Meaders on a math problem out of a textbook. The students are using mathematics to learn new engineering concepts in this unit. Photo by Gisselle Washington

“Growing up in a smaller town in Texas, we didn’t have these kinds of options in our high school and so it’s really cool to see all these career opportunities and different classes set up for that being available here,” Nardo said. “I just really hope that they get everything out of it that they are searching for. I know like with aerospace, there’s a lot of kids that come in here that have always been fascinated with NASA and rockets and everything like that. So I just hope that I’m able to get to them everything they want and be able to move further and try to be successful in careers with the knowledge they get from my classroom.”

The addition of Mr. Nardo filled the spot vacated by Ms. Moreno last year.  

“So we went through a series of candidates and decided that the first round didn’t really find someone that was a fit,” ETA Director Robert Lozano said, “We came back and opened it up again and were able to then interview some additional candidates and Mr. Nardo stood out and so we felt he was the best fit for ETA based on his background, based on his experience, and based on his ability to work with others. Because even though we are in education, we are in the people business. So we always also want to understand that we have young people that we are dealing with on a daily basis and that they have to make effective working professional relationships.”

Students get to have hands-on experiences and learn engineering concepts both in his class to prepare for their careers post-college.

“He’s very down to earth and understands the way kids are, the way kids think,” Junior Lazarus Gonzales said. “He helps us a lot because he’s understanding. I would like to learn deeper into engineering in his class.”

Although he has a background in engineering and is qualified to teach the rigorous courses provided being in the engineering and technology academy, there’s more to teaching than meets the eye.

“It’s definitely more stressful than I was expecting,” Nardo said. “There’s so much planning involved that goes in to everything and so much of what you think is going to happen either goes more quickly or things just don’t work out right. So there’s so much that you just have to have a change on the fly. So it’s been interesting trying to keep everything moving properly but it’s also been a real fun challenge at the same time. The kids are awesome and all the classes are very enjoyable and it’s been a good experience overall.”