Academy History

Dos Pueblos High School (DPHS), in collaboration with UCSB, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), and local industry partners determined that our community would benefit from an engineering program designed for students at a secondary level. Thus the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) was founded in 2002 at DPHS, by physics teacher Amir Abo-Shaeer.
 
The shortage of classroom space on the Dos Pueblos campus allowed the DPEA to enroll only 32 students per year. Mr. Abo-Shaeer added FIRST Robotics to the curriculum in 2006 and the DPEA entered its rookie season as Team 1717. The rookie robot was constructed in a custodian’s closet with used and borrowed machines. The success of Team 1717 and the popularity of the DPEA increased the level of interest, and within three years the number of students applying to the program had tripled.
 
By the end of 2006, Amir Abo-Shaeer had a vision of building a facility on campus that would house over 400 students and offer equipment, machinery, and space for state-of-the-art technical education. He applied for and received a $3 million grant from the State of California to build a facility to house the DPEA. But, in order to receive that grant, an additional $3 million had to be raised locally. With that goal in mind the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation (DPEAF) was established.
 
Thanks to our many donors and the hard work of the DPEA Foundation, the additional $3 million dollars was raised. The construction of the world-class Elings Center for Engineering Education (EECE) at Dos Pueblos High School was begun in 2010 and completed in 2011.
 
Under the guidance of DPEA founder and director Amir Abo-Shaeer, the DPEA currently provides over 400 high school students with an unsurpassed experience in project-based learning. 2014 marks the first year that seniors will choose between two amazing capstone projects: robotics, and mechatronics. In 2014, a new DPEA Mechatronics Laboratory has been added to the DPEA to accommodate the large student enrollment and two senior capstone projects.
 
Honors for Amir Abo-Shaeer
  • 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2013 Marvyn Melvin Distinguished Teacher Award, Santa Barbara County Education Office 
  • 2011 FIRST Woodie Flowers Award – Los Angeles Regional
  • 2010 MacArthur Fellowship -- He is the first high school teacher to win this award, as well as the first FIRST mentor to win the award for work relating to FIRST robotics.
  • 2010 Santa Barbara Rotary Outstanding Service Award
  • 2008 Crystal Apple Educator Award, Santa Barbara County Education Office
  • 2008 Goleta Educator of the Year
  • 2008 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition
Awards for Team 1717
  • 2014 FIRST Championship: General Motors Industrial Design Award.
  • 2014 FIRST Los Angeles Regional: Regional Winner, Engineering Excellence Award sponsored by Delphi
  • 2014, FIRST Las Vegas Regional: Second Place, General Motors Industrial Design Award.
  • 2013 FIRST Championship: Rockwell Automation in Control Award
  • 2013 Los Angeles Regional: Regional Winner
  • 2013 Las Vegas Regional: Regional Winner, Industrial design Award sponsored by General Motors
  • 2012 FIRST Championship: Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox
  • 2012 Central Valley Regional: Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation, Regional Winner
  • 2012 Los Angeles Regional: Regional Winner
  • 2011 Los Angeles Regional: Engineering Excellence Award sponsored by Delphi, Regional Finalist
  • 2011 San Diego Regional: Quality Award sponsored by Motorola
  • 2010 FIRST Championship: Quality Award sponsored by Motorola
  • 2010 San Diego Regional: FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award, Quality Award sponsored by Motorola, Regional Finalist
  • 2010 Los Angeles Regional: Engineering Inspiration Award, Regional Winner
  • 2009 FIRST Championship: Quality Award sponsored by Motorola, Finalist - Galileo Division
  • 2009 Sacramento Regional: Quality Award sponsored by Motorola, Regional Winner
  • 2009 Los Angeles Regional: Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors, Regional Finalist
  • 2008 FIRST Championship: Finalist - Galileo Division
  • 2008 San Diego Regional: Delphi “Driving Tomorrow’s Technology”, Regional Winner
  • 2008 Los Angeles Regional: Delphi “Driving Tomorrow’s Technology”, Regional Winner
  • 2007 San Diego Regional: Imagery Award, Regional Finalist
  • 2006 Southern California Regional: Rookie All-Star
  • 2006 Arizona Regional: Rookie Inspiration Award