The UK College of Engineering capped National Engineers Week with its annual Engineers Day Open House extravaganza February 25 in the engineering quadrangle. Over 1,500 visitors availed themselves to creative contests, exhibitors’ displays and dynamic visual presentations provided by faculty members, student groups and representatives from local businesses and agencies. The event stretched across five buildings and utilized a large portion of the quadrangle’s courtyard.
UK student chapters of several academic societies devised contests that contained principles of engineering. The Edible Car contest, operated by the Society for Women Engineers, gave participants the chance to build a car out of candy, vegetables, pasta—any combination of food items able to provide a sturdy enough structure that could successfully roll down a small ramp. Across the hall, the new railroad engineering student organization, RailCats, let visitors try their hand at switching train cars via a simulation program while others who dropped by took turns steering a speedboat through a computer program.
Elsewhere, future engineers raced against their peers to construct a Lego tower exactly like a model structure provided by Tau Beta Pi and Phi Sigma Rho students conducted balloon races with candy for the winners. Visitors also tested their manufacturing and ecological knowledge through a game of “Sustainability Jeopardy,” erected spaghetti gumdrop towers and challenged themselves through several other creative contests throughout the day (see below for a complete list of contest winners).
In addition to the smaller, fun contests, two contests required more involvement, skill and ingenuity—and also offered larger-scale prizes. The Popsicle Stick Bridge Construction Contest, hosted by Chi Epsilon, challenged participants to create a bridge out of popsicle sticks that could withstand increasing pressure from a metal cylinder placed at the center of the bridge. Participants had to stay within specific requirements for their bridges, construct them at home and bring them to E-Day. Winners in the middle school and high school divisions received printers donated by Lexmark.
In the central atrium of the Oliver Raymond Building, the Egg Drop Contest attracted an enthusiastic crowd. Spectators peered over the first, second and third floor railings to get a glimpse of contestants’ egg-carrying containers as they were dropped from a height of over 30 feet. The crowd’s responses to each drop gave unmistakable clues as to whether the egg had survived the drop…or whether the floor was splattered with egg yolk. The winner of the Egg Drop Contest also received a printer graciously donated by Lexmark.
Stationed intermittently throughout the engineering complex, over 140 exhibitors representing local businesses, industry representatives and national professional organizations, as well as College of Engineering departments and centers and student organizations chatted with visitors and distributed informational literature and free gifts. There was no shortage of interesting demonstrations to see or engineering professionals available for information about their research and industry.
In the quadrangle courtyard, a curious crowd gathered at the top of every hour to see IR4TD (Institute of Research for Technology Development) researchers Ahmad Salaimeh and Alex Richards ignite a “fire whirl”—a swirling helix of flame contained within a protective case. In spite of the chilly temperatures, the fire whirl’s visual appeal made it a popular attraction. Bill Cloyd of Newton’s Attic entertained onlookers with robotics demonstrations near the courtyard and biosystems and agricultural engineering students showed anyone who came by their table how cotton candy is made—and then gave them a bag to take with them!
To promote the benefits of an engineering education at UK, recruiters James Ballard, William Henderson and Isaiah Surbrook gave a presentation to prospective engineering students about the College of Engineering, the programs available within the College and how to apply. High school seniors coming to UK for engineering were also able to enter a drawing for a $4,000 scholarship dispersed over four years. Connor Denton, Henry Clay High School in Lexington was the lucky winner.
Thomas Lester, Dean of the College of Engineering, was pleased with the turnout and myriad ways visitors could involve themselves in the festivities. “E-Day, as a way of celebrating National Engineers Week, is the perfect opportunity for our outstanding faculty, talented student groups and respected businesses and agencies to showcase the valuable resources they offer to the engineering world and simultaneously engage budding engineering in games and contests that are fun and educational. To that end, Engineers Day 2012 was a huge success!”
E-Day Contest Winners
Popsicle Stick Bridge Construction
Middle School Division
1st place – Hailey Sturgill
2nd place – Jeraan Fernando
High School Division
1st place – Anna Braun
2nd place – Jessie Partin
3rd place – Hunter Hurst
1st place Cameron Hackett-Dodridge – Rosa Parks Elementary
2nd place – Emma Daniels – Cassidy Elementary
3rd place – Juliann Hyatt – Meadow Thorpe Elementary
1st place – “King Kong” – Kelly Kral, Chris Duncan, David Costello
2nd place – “Mt. Olympus” – Nia Jackson, Michaela Gila
3rd place – “Olympus Mons” – Emily Grosz, Aaron Grosz, Faith Grosz
Best Distance – “Mt. Ashland” – Sara Tucker
1st place – David Lindemuth, Joseph Lindemuth – 107 inches
2nd place – Rachel Effinger – 66 inches
Rail Cats Model Railcar Train Simulator Switching