Lehigh engineering students come together for competition

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Lehigh engineers come from many different disciplines. They work and learn in different buildings and areas on campus. Most of the time, engineers from different academic areas lead separate lives.

But Neal Cousino, ’15, president of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society, hoped to diminish the dissonance between disciplines and bring the engineering community together, if only for a day.

On Saturday, April 18, engineering students formed teams on the University Center front lawn to participate in the 2015 Engineering Day Competition. Participants gathered and enjoyed a free lunch  from the Goose while Lehigh Valley Radio Station, WLVR deejayed for much of the competition. 

 Tau Beta Pi led the event, but more than ten organizations were involved in the Planning Committee that helped prepare Engineering Day.

 “Our biggest goal is to encourage collaboration and bonding among different engineering groups,” Cousino said. “Experiences like these help students get to know each other and cosponsor more events in the  future.”

 Ten ideas for potential challenges were submitted for review, and half were selected to be part of the event. Some events included an egg drop and constructing a Rube Goldberg Machine that involves complex systems to accomplish simple tasks.

Other events included a structural challenge using large-sized Jenga, a Spaghetti Tower and a water filtration competition in which students learned about the complexity of purifying water.

Teams of approximately five individuals took part in the five challenges, each lasting about 30 minutes.

Leah Tranovich, ’16, participant and president of American Institute of Chemical Engineers at Lehigh, noted the competitive yet relaxing setting was a nice way for different engineering groups to get to know each other.

“I did not know so many engineering organizations existed on campus, and I’m excited to get to know these other clubs, Tranovich said. “Tau Beta Pi did a great job planning the day and convincing engineers to leave behind the libraries and labs for a few hours and get some sunshine and fun. I look forward to its continuation.”

In total, 15 teams and 77 participants took part in the competition. Participants included a variety of engineering students from different class years.

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Conrad Mason, ’17, holds his team’s egg drop contraption during engineering day Saturday, April 18, 2015, on the front lawn. Students’ intelligence and teamwork were tested as they participated in several hands-on engineering challenges. (Xavier Cousens/B&W photo)

Chijioke Umezinwa, ’18, a computer engineer, said the event was a fun experience.

“As a team we were able to accomplish a lot while also having a good time,” Umezinwa said.

Participant and computer engineer, Winston La, ’18, said he enjoyed the openness of the competition.

“I liked how the activities were familiar to a lot of people, and how you could join even if you’re not an engineering major,” La said.

After the competition students were invited to attend a panel with professionals held in Packard 101. Cousino said this panel was held in order to help students get a better idea of what life as an engineer is like.

“Professionals come from diverse fields and experiences and collectively answer questions that engineering students may have about their futures,” he said.

The Engineering Day 2015 winning team represented the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Competition winners included Joachim Amoah, ’17; Zakaria Hsain, ’17; Billy Hau ’15; Markain Blazejowskyj, ’16; and Nick Schan, ’15. As the winners, the team received the Engineering Day Trophy.

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