Engineering our future
Posted on 14.04.11 by
Early on, I realised that I was not going to be a professional basketball or football player, and instead set my sights on a more realistic goal: to become an engineer, writes Peter Stacey. I am proud that I achieved this dream and recently joined ArcelorMittal Cleveland as an associate engineer. I know that many young people may not think that being an engineer is as exciting as professional sports, but that is why I was happy to be part of the Design Squad Challenge at Cleveland's Idea Center, which was sponsored by ArcelorMittal.
The Design Squad Challenge motivates teenage students to pursue careers as scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The students were taught an engineering process – to identify the problem, brainstorm a solution, design a model, build and test it, and then share the solution. The teams had to demonstrate this process by solving three surprise challenges and achieve the target with a seemingly random set of objects, such as paper clips, batteries, duct tape and wooden sticks. The challenges were: to design a motorised system for kicking a ping-pong ball across the room; to use balloons for launching a straw rocket at a target five metres away; and to build a tower of newspaper strong enough to hold a tennis ball on top while another ball was rolled into its base.
While the world may not actually need ping-pong ball kickers, balloon-powered rockets, or towers made of newspaper, it does need young people who are excited about engineering and science. The steel industry certainly needs young, scientific minds. That is why my colleagues, Ahmed Hamed, Eric Anderson, Margaret Krolikowski, Bill Schrader, and I signed up to judge the teams.
I found it rewarding to see the students’ smiles as they arrived at a solution and to observe how they developed their ideas into a final product. Their pride and excitement made me wonder… maybe in a few years some of these young people will be the next generation of engineers to brainstorm, design and build solutions at ArcelorMittal.
Click here to view a video about the Design Squad Challenge, sponsored by ArcelorMittal Cleveland: http://www.ideastream.org/newsdepth/entry/39266#