With a passion for building and creating that started at a young age with Legos and video games, 17-year-old Theo Marshall's technology skills have now far outpaced his classmates, his teachers, and his school. The Wenatchee High School senior was awarded the Future Technology Leader honor from the North Central Washington Technology Alliance this week. Marshall works part time at Wenatchee Public Library.
"He has produced more high tech products and shown his peers and teacher more new technology than anyone that has come before him," WHS engineering teacher Doug Merrill said, in nominating Marshall for the award. "Frankly, Theo has had more ideas than the school can afford!"
While there were many tech-savvy students from around the region nominated for the award, the review committee was looking for someone who went beyond their engineering homework assignments and initiated their own projects, said Jenny Napier, executive director of GWATA.
Marshall was selected for his "overall leadership, his ability to go above and beyond, and his innovation in creating new and exciting projects," she said. "Theo is pretty incredible."
In his nominating letter, Merrill wrote that Marshall, a third year engineering student, has consistently "shown creativity and ingenuity far beyond his peers." "Theo has the uncanny ability to look at new computer software or electronics or mechanical devices and quickly figure out how to use it," he wrote. Among his accomplishments:
- His sophomore year, Marshall led a team of three students to build the school's first underwater remotely operated vehicle.
- His junior year, Marshall helped build the school's first quad-copter from scratch, building and programming the software for it. He researched the parts to buy and even improved on them, using a 3D printer to build new landing gear to accommodate a bottom mount camera.
- This year, Marshall and another student assembled the school's first large-bed CNC router. More than 400 parts and hardware pieces arrived at the school in 15 boxes and two students put them together to make a precision milling machine. By the end of the school year, Marshall will finish writing the user's manual for the router to help guide future generations of engineering students at the school.
- Most recently, Marshall created an adaptive device to help a special needs student at the school with her after-school job. The adaptive device helps the student, who is visually impaired, better do her job.
- He is currently designing and using a 3D printer to create a money-counting advice to help special needs students keep track of money they earn working.
"I get bored and I need something to do, so I just start some new project," he said.
Marshall said he plans to work for a local technology company over the summer. If he likes the work, he'll stay in Wenatchee and attend Wenatchee Valley College for two years before heading to Washington State University to pursue a degree in engineering.