Honors Program student incorporates woodshop skills in senior project

Andrew Kuhn/Staff Photographer Holland senior Ryan Lewis, displays the wooden seal he created as part of his honors project Thrusday Nov. 29, 2012 in the Engineering and Technology Building woodshop. The seal took Lewis over 130 hours to complete and will be displayed in Powers Hall with a cabinet he has yet to complete.

Senior Ryan Lewis has been sharpening his woodshop skills ever since he was little boy in his grandfather’s basement.

“My grandfather was, and still is, the main reason why I decided to take woodshop classes in high school,” the Holland native said. “Every time I go home, I visit with him and update him what I’ve been working on lately.”

Lately, Lewis is working on many different woodshop projects, and the Honors Program intarsia seal is the main attraction he has been putting his time into.

Lewis’ Honors Program senior project has been receiving much attention for his abundant skills in woodshop.

Lewis said his original project proposal was to create the seal and a display cabinet for the seal to be housed in Powers Hall, but it has really evolved beyond anything his mentors could have imagined.

“I don’t imagine on a small-scale; I’m a big thinker,” Lewis said. “Something worth doing is worth doing right, and if that takes me a couple of years, it is what I have to do.”

Lewis gives the Honors Program a lot of credit when it comes to his inspiration and dedication in his creative endeavors.

When it comes to using his woodshop skills for a bigger purpose, Lewis sees no end in giving back to the university.

“I especially wanted to make a sort of legacy that others will appreciate in the many years to come,” Lewis said. “The Honors Program has provided me a lot of opportunity for self-growth and development as a student and a professional.”

His guidance for the past four or so years has been School of Engineering and Technology instructor Alan Papendick.

Lewis said Papendick has been his adviser, and seen his growth as a student throughout his journey through exploring woodshop.

“He lights up in the classroom and really has a heart for the students,” Papendick said of Lewis’ work as a laboratory assistant.

Lewis has a goal of going into industrial education and he said he wants to ensure that the future of the students of tomorrow have the same opportunity to explore woodworking and the array of careers available that he has had.

“He really is going to be a super teacher,” Papendick said. “I’ve watched him mature and grow as a professional. He has grabbed the reigns. He is a go get ‘em guy.”

Lewis said the projects he is working on will help him in his career as a teacher. He wants to set an example of what hard work and dedication can look like, and show his students with his own personal results.

“This is what I do. It is my profession. Making this project will serve as a great example to the future students of what they can accomplish with patience and hard work,” Lewis said.

When Lewis was in high school, he started growing and developing his woodshop exploration, and it has not stopped. If anything, Lewis thinks it is continuously growing and evolving, and the end is not in sight.

“Love is an understatement now. I have a tremendous passion for industrial education and woodworking,” Lewis said. “It had such an impact on me as an individual that I can’t imagine my life without it. I would say that I’m possibly obsessed in a good way.”


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