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Engineering Expo expands to three days of exploration

Thursday, February 07, 2013

LAWRENCE — A tradition that dates back more than a century at the University of Kansas School of Engineering has a new twist this year. 

Organizers of the school’s annual Engineering Expo have added an extra day of student competitions in order to accommodate increased interest in engineering from K-12 students across the region and to ease congestion at KU’s engineering complex.

“We had record attendance last year – more than 2,000 people. The hallways everywhere were packed. There wasn’t even room to sit for lunch, so we decided to make Expo a three-day event, adding a second day of student competitions,” said Qi Chen, a junior in chemical engineering and registration coordinator for this year’s Expo. 

Engineering Expo is set for Feb. 21-23. The student competitions are Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, with events and demonstrations scheduled for 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Day 1 is for middle school competitions. Day 2 features competitions for elementary school and high school students. It will also include a keynote address from Burns and McDonnell CEO Greg Graves, who will speak to high school students at 9 a.m. at the Lied Center. Saturday events run from 9 a.m. to noon and feature engineering displays and a public open house. All events are free.

Expo provides K-12 students the opportunity to test their engineering skills in a variety of competitions, ranging from seeing how much weight a bridge made from pasta can support, to designing and launching rockets made from construction paper. 

A full list of competitions is available here.

For a quick video overview of Engineering Expo, click here.

“The biggest thing I’d hope students get out of Expo is a greater understanding of what engineering actually is,” said Joe Weaver, a sophomore in aerospace engineering and groups and activities coordinator for this year’s Expo. “Personally, I had no idea what was involved in engineering until late in my high school career. This is a great opportunity to communicate what engineering is and get these students excited about it.”

In addition to competitions, Expo visitors will find several hands-on activities that demonstrate a variety of engineering and science principles.

“I feel like hands-on experience is especially important,” said Laura-Kate Assenmacher, a sophomore in architectural engineering and finance coordinator for this year’s Expo. “In high school, I knew engineering involved a lot of math and science, but I didn’t have a lot of practical knowledge of it or know what it looked like. Expo is a great place to experience what engineering is all about.”

For more information, go to Engineering Expo.

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