Design Competition to Spark Innovation, Creativity among College and High School Students

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Spark Article

Building STEM Success: Students will work in teams to create Rube Goldberg-themed projects in this year's SPARK design competition, which hopes to inspire future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Efforts by Rose-Hulman to spark innovation and creativity among college and high school students will feature a fun-filled design competition on April 30, starting at 9 a.m., in the institute's Sports and Recreation Center

The free event, called SPARK (Student Projects Advocating Resourceful Knowledge), has been organized by Rose-Hulman's Building Undergraduate Diversity (RoseBUD) program, with support from Ford Motor Company, Interactive Intelligence, ArcelorMittal, Rockwell Collins, and Halliburton. It strives to promote growth for students in innovation and creative design through the use of teamwork, networking, and mentorship in an exciting and challenging environment.

Four-person teams from Rose-Hulman or high schools will have the opportunity to develop creative solutions for a design challenge that will be announced at the event. Teams will be formed from the list of available students in attendance.

"The goal is to get 50 college and 50 high school students excited about engineering, design, and team work," says RoseBUD mentor Carlotta Berry, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

There will be an introduction on creative design practices by mechanical engineering professor Patsy Brackin, and discussions about careers in science, engineering, and mathematics. Breakfast and lunch will be served to all participants.

Teams with the best technical and creative designs will win prizes, as determined by guest judges provided from the corporate sponsors and RoseBUD students. There also will be raffles for prizes such as an Xbox game console and tablets.

Visiting students also will have the opportunity to view the High School Autonomous Vehicle Competition, taking place in the Sports and Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students from Clay City and North Vermillion high schools have spent the past three months designing a scale-model race car to use directional sensor technology to navigate oval, figure 8, and curved courses. The competition is sponsored by Ford, MathWorks, and NXP. The competition has been organized by Marc Herniter, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and David Mutchler, professor of computer science and software engineering.

The RoseBUD program hopes to encourage more students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There is special emphasis toward broadening diversity among students enrolled in engineering.