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KU to Host Future City Regional Competition

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More than 200 middle school students from Kansas and Missouri will take part in the Great Plains Region Future City Competition, Saturday, Jan. 23, at the University of Kansas. 

Students have been working on their Future City projects since they began school in the fall, and now are preparing for January’s regional competition.  Working in teams, students must engineer a city of the future that addresses a specific need and create a model of their city using recycled materials. This year’s theme is “Providing an Affordable Living Space for People Who Have Lost Their Home Due to a Disaster or Financial Emergency.” 

“Our students are enthusiastic, focused and highly motivated,” said Great Plains Region Coordinator Howard Lubliner, a road design leader with the Kansas Department of Transportation.  “They have a unique appreciation for this theme because they understand that it addresses some of the most pressing issues our society faces.  Their work reflects the passion they feel and their commitment to trying to make the world a better place.”

Sponsored by the nation’s professional engineering community, National Engineers Week Future City Competition aims to stir interest in science, technology, engineering and math among young people.  More than 65 teams from 27 schools registered to take part in the Great Plains Region competition in the Kansas Union. Future City is the nation’s largest engineering education program and among the most popular. More than 33,000 students from 1,100 middle schools are expected to participate nationwide.

Student teams work under the guidance of a teacher and a volunteer engineer mentor to design and build a city of tomorrow.  They create cities on computers using the SimCity™ 4 Deluxe software and then build three-dimensional, tabletop models to scale.  To ensure a level playing field, models must use recycled materials and can cost no more than $100 to build.  Students write brief narratives describing their city and must present and defend their designs at the competition before a panel of engineer judges who test the depth of the teams’ knowledge.  They also must conduct research for and write a short essay on the competition theme. 

Participants are asked to consider the social, economic and ecological impact of the manufacturing and construction techniques they design.  The design should be constructed with the ideal of providing affordable homes to people facing disaster or financial crisis, and who earn only 50 percent to 80 percent of the median income of the surrounding city.  The living space needs to use sustainable materials, have a low-carbon emissions footprint, and achieve the “Green Ideals” of energy efficient building.


The Great Plains Region Future City Competition begins with an opening ceremony at 8:40 a.m. Teams are judged on a variety of parameters, including two separate oral presentations, between 9:20 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. The students’ models will be on display for public viewing in the Kansas Union Ballroom. Keynote speaker Rodger Smith, president of Enterprise Management Solutions of Black & Veatch, will address all participants at 1 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium. The top five teams will deliver the final round of presentations before a panel of judges at 1:30 p.m. The winning team and all other award recipients will be announced beginning at 2:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend the keynote address, the final round and awards presentations.

Members of the winning team at the Great Plains Region competition receive a scholarship to study engineering at the University of Kansas or Kansas State University upon graduating from high school. In addition, first-place winners receive a trip to the 18th annual Future City National Finals, Feb. 13-17, during National Engineers Week, in Washington, D.C.  Nearly 40 top-placing teams from the qualifying regions will compete for the national grand prize, a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. 

About Engineers Week                                                 

The National Engineers Week Foundation, a formal coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies, is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers among young students and by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science.  Engineers Week also raises public understanding and appreciation of engineers' contributions to society.  Founded in 1951, it is among the oldest of America's professional outreach efforts.  Co-chairs for 2010 are ExxonMobil Corporation and the American Society of Civil Engineers. For more information, visit www.eweek.org

For more information on judging or mentoring in the Future City Competition, visit www.futurecity.org, or contact Howard Lubliner at 785-296-4139.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Jill Hummels, PR director with the KU School of Engineering at 785-864-2934, to learn about available times for interview opportunities.

 

CONTACT

Great Plains Region Coordinator:

Howard Lubliner

785-760-4611

 

KU School of Engineering

Jill Hummels

785-864-2934

 

Sayles & Winnikoff Communications

Jamie Goldman

(212) 725-5200 ex. 122



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