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News & Events

02-14-2001

Clarkson Students Kick Off National Engineers Week With Competition This Saturday

National Engineers Week is February 18-24, and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, a group of Clarkson University students will show off their engineering skills in a competition on Saturday, February 17, from 1-3 p.m. at the Andrew M. Schuler Indoor Recreation Center.

The event is sponsored by the Clarkson chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, in conjunction with campus chapters of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers.

Fourteen teams of five students — many from disciplines other than engineering — have signed up to compete for the $200 first prize. They will be asked to construct an emergency shelter using a list of prescribed materials. Building of the shelter will involve skills in design, construction, safety, testing, teamwork and recycling. When finished, the shelters will have to withstand a three-bucket barrage of water while the team is inside.

None of the teams will know any details in advance -- neither materials, nor construction specifications. That’s by design, according to Vicki Clark, assistant to the director of the Pipeline of Educational Programs (PEP).

“Even the student groups sponsoring the competition do not know its full scope,” said Clark. “We want teams to come at this with no preconceived notion of what they’re going to do. Someday, these same students will be called into a boardroom and told, ‘Here’s the problem; come up with a solution.’ We want students to learn to think outside of the box.

The competition was designed by Walter Kissam, a science teacher at Colton-Pierrepont Central School in Colton, N.Y., and was first used in last year’s AISES summer math and engineering program at Clarkson.

National Engineers Week is co-sponsored this year by the National Society of Professional Engineers, which founded the event in 1951, and by IBM.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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