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30 Under 30: Kevin James Shaw

 Kevin James Shaw

Age: 15
Freeland, MI
*Click here to download our 30 Under 30 List*

Kevin Shaw has always been naturally curious about electricity and mechanics.

His parents, who nominated him, say it has been obvious from the beginning that “he is an engineer at heart.”

It’s been obvious to Kevin, too, who says he has wanted to be an engineer since he was about 9, and he works constantly toward that goal with enjoyment. In fact, Kevin already has his eyes on the University of Michigan, a degree in mechanical or electrical engineering, and, in particular, the field of prosthetics.

But why is Kevin worthy of this recognition?

While the manufacturing industry is working diligently to inspire more students to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields, it comes naturally to Kevin.

“I’m really passionate about math and science,” he explained in a recent interview. He also discussed his love of abstract thinking and problem solving. “It just really clicks with me.”

His parents outlined a lifelong dedication to STEM fields and interests in their nomination.

“By age 7, he had his own workbench, and often shopped for toys that were more interesting to take apart and reassemble.  At a young age when other children would be more interested in television, or toys, Kevin would disappear into the basement at his workbench and would be gone for hours.”

By age 8, he had learned to do basic electrical wiring and could create his own remote controls.

At later ages, he scoured garage sales to find old engines and parts. Eventually, he developed a proficiency at working with Legos, robotics and engines.

“At age 10, he designed and built a hovercraft which carried his 6 year old brother across our basement floor,” his parents wrote. “He used a vacuum cleaner engine.”

Kevin continues to explore and run various types of engines, including a Sterling engine from his one grandpa, a steam engine from his other grandpa that he has got back into working order, and he has built multiple electro-magnetic motors. 

Last year, he learned to weld, and built Christmas gifts for his family. 

He is now in the process of rebuilding a 1965 Corvair dune buggy. “It’s been a great learning experience,” Kevin said. The goal is to get it working by the time he’s old enough to drive. “I’m waiting on a few parts. I have to make it street legal.”

In addition to keeping great marks at Freeland High School, getting ahead of his grade level, Kevin is an accomplished level 6 gymnast, which requires 22 hours of dedicated time in the gym a week. He has also begun volunteering time at a local humane society. ME

Published Date : 7/1/2013

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