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SPARK-ing Creativity with Design Competition for College and High School Students

Monday, February 26, 2018
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SPARK is a free event on campus March 17 that encourages innovation and creative design among students through the use of teamwork, networking and mentorship in an exciting and challenging environment.

Rose-Hulman is bringing together college and high school students for a fun-filled design competition and demonstrations March 17, from noon to 5 p.m., in the Sports and Recreation Center.

The free event, called SPARK, has been organized by Rose-Hulman’s Building Undergraduate Diversity (Rose-BUD) program, with support from ArcelorMittal, Ford Motor Company, Halliburton and SparkFun. It strives to encourage innovation and creative design among students through the use of teamwork, networking and mentorship in an exciting and challenging environment.

The keynote speaker will be Shawn Hymel, a 2006 Rose-Hulman computer engineering alumnus. He has gone from designing printed circuit boards for do-it-yourself retailer SparkFun Electronics to creating demonstration Adventures in Science videos for the Boulder, Colo., retailer that reveal, in a fun-filled way, experiments that include how to use an oscilloscope, blasting colleagues with Silly String, and creating whimsical April Fools’ Day pranks.

Since joining SparkFun in 2013, Hymel has helped the engineering team develop the next generation of open-source tools, and now is a member of the communications and marketing team, believing that the best marketing for STEM projects comes from teaching and hands-on learning.

The SPARK design competition will have four-person teams of college and high school students developing creative solutions for a design challenge, learning team-building skills, time-management techniques, coping strategies and making new friends.

“The goal is to get 100 students excited about engineering, design and teamwork through a challenging environment,” says Rose-BUD mentor Carlotta Berry, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The Rose-BUD program hopes to encourage more students towards careers in STEM, Berry said, noting the emphasis Rose-Hulman has placed towards broadening diversity among students enrolled in engineering, science and mathematics.

Teams with the best technical and creative designs, as determined by guest judges, will win prizes provided by the corporate sponsors and the Rose-BUD program.

There is no charge for the event, which includes lunch, but students wishing to participate must register here by March 10.