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Jr. Billiken Spotlight

Chasing the Sun

Eric Berg '15

Some students learn to be engineers.  Then there is Eric Berg '15.

A young man who possesses an innate intellectual curiosity and passion to creatively solve problems, Berg has an uncanny ability to tinker with and build things.  Since childhood, he has worked on a variety of projects that occupy the minds of skilled professionals.

“I have always had a passion for building and inventing,” says Berg.  “Since I was little I have fiddled with Legos and wood to craft whatever I could imagine.  I have designed and built remote control planes, boats and cars, and also various robots.”

In addition, the Jr. Bill has created many mechanical inventions, such as an automatic motorized door opener and a motorized scooter that has seen several improvements over the years.  CLICK HERE to see a video of his scooter project.

Last year, Berg was a finalist for the Watlow Scholarship, SLUH’s only merit-based scholarship, which is given by St. Louis-based Watlow, a designer and manufacturer of electric heaters, sensors, and controllers for thermal systems.

A first honors student who has enjoyed taking C++ Computer Programming and Advanced Geometry because he “likes solving proofs,” Berg somehow finds time to pursue his passion for building and invention beyond his academic studies.

Recently, the budding engineer has been organizing a Robotics team to compete in a regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in March.  If his team does well, it will advance to a national competition in April.  (Berg is leading the team with Alex Beffa ’15, who was also a Watlow Scholarship Finalist.)

Berg’s entrepreneurial spirit has compelled him to take on the challenge of putting together the team, which will be comprised of 26 students, five mentors and two professional engineers.  He has also been responsible for developing the team’s management plan and raising the funds – in excess of $15,000 – through grants and donations to enter the FRC, which is the nation’s top robotics competition for grades 9-12.

Berg will need to set aside time from his FRC preparations, however, later this month when he participates in a global project known as Chasing the Sun.  He was chosen as one of only 12 local high school students for this elite event, hosted by the Saint Louis University John Cook School of Business.  His team of 12 will partner with teams from around the world to create an idea pitch.  Students will start with a problem in St. Louis, develop a solution and pass it on to the next time zone.  These steps will be repeated until the idea has been around the globe (Hawaii, Australia, India and Spain) and back.  Teams will compete for prizes in the project, which is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” says Berg.  “I think it will be a lot of fun.”

As Berg chases his own metaphoric sun through the pursuit of engineering, he has his sights set on attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I hope to apply and develop my love for engineering,” he says.  “I want to be able to use what I already know about technology and innovation, but more importantly I seek to learn more and advance my skills.”