Trevor Turnquist Brings Innovation Through Apps and Maker Spaces

Trevor Turnquist, a senior at Montverde Academy, has a passion for technology, and he plans to major in computer science and electrical engineering when he goes to college. “My passion for [technology] started with Ms. Cunningham in the Lower School,” said Trevor. “She created the interest in computers and technology.” His passion was reinforced when he learned that many of his family members are in the computer science and engineering industry, among them being his mother’s cousin, Tom Gruber, who was a cofounder of the famous virtual assistant Siri. Trevor has a particular interest in artificial intelligence and believes that it’s the future of technology.

Hearing about MVA’s plans for the Innovation Center, he knew that he wanted to get in on the ground floor of its development. “Trevor took the initiative to approach me and asked how he could help in the implementation of the Innovation Center,” said Dr. Caryn Long, the Director of Educational Technology and Innovation at MVA.

In the beginning of this school year, Trevor became an intern for Dr. Long. His first project involved reaching out to teachers to inquire of their interest with regard to using Virtual Reality (VR) in the classroom. Mrs. Kristine Walsworth, the English Department Chair in the Upper School, responded to Trevor and expressed an interest in using VR for her students’ passion projects where they could choose a location anywhere in the world, explore it using VR, and write about it. To meet that educational need, Trevor researched and explored the Wander app, which works with VR technology to give the user an immersive experience anywhere in the world using Google Street View. “The future of technology in education has surprised me,” said Trevor. “I didn’t realize there would be as much as I’ve found in regards to VR in education.”

Trevor has also been working on ideas for the Innovation Center’s Maker Spaces, which will give students easy access to resources and physical materials needed for various technology projects. “Maker spaces will be an area with 3D printers, Arduinos, and any tools needed to make things physically. To make robots, computers, or anything, you need to have resources,” said Trevor. “Those materials can either be expensive or too difficult to access.” On top of the expense of the materials themselves, there is also the expense of shipping and the expense of time, some materials taking a few weeks to arrive, making the creation of anything an incredibly tedious process. “Having a maker space where you can create things with everything handy right there, it just makes everything easier,” said Trevor.

“With experience in VR and Maker Spaces,” said Dr. Long, “Trevor has been an invaluable amount of help for research on activities that would be useful for the VR environment and will be preparing our materials for the Maker Space delivery once the spaces are in place.”