LAWRENCE — An annual event to showcase the wonders of engineering will provide K-12 students a chance to test their design and analytical skills Feb. 20-22 at the University of Kansas School of Engineering.
KU Engineering Expo is expected to draw more than 2,000 visitors to the Engineering Complex, 15th Street and Naismith Drive, over the course of three days for various Olympic-themed engineering competitions and displays. This year’s theme is Engineering Dream Team: The Gold Standard.
The Thursday, Feb. 20, session is open to middle school students, and Friday, Feb. 21, is for grade school and high school students. Both days feature the same competitions and activities throughout Eaton Hall, Learned Hall and the Measurement, Materials, and Sustainable Environment Center (M2SEC). In addition to some new contests, KU students will host several longtime favorites such as the Pasta Bridge Competition, Egg Drop Competition, Chem-E Car Competition and Lego Mindstorm. Awards will be presented both days in a total of 16 competitions. Saturday, Feb. 22, will feature a variety of displays and hands-on activities.
“It’s our hope that these students get a better understanding of what engineering actually is,” said Logan Fritz, a junior in aerospace engineering and finance chair of this year’s Engineering Expo. “When I was in middle school, even into high school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until my senior year when I found out more about engineering and starting thinking it’d be a good path and could lead to a good career.”
Former astronaut and KU Physics and Astronomy Professor Steve Hawley will deliver the keynote address for middle school students on Feb. 20. Hawley also leads the KU’s Engineering Physics program. Gary Storm, senior principal architect with Kansas City engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, will speak on Feb. 21 to high school students attending Expo. Thornton Tomasetti engineers have designed and engineered a variety of projects worldwide, including a number of sporting venues. Both presentations are at the Lied Center. The hour-by-hour schedule is available here.
Events on Saturday, Feb. 22, are open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon. Free parking is available in Lot 54 to the south of the Engineering Complex and Lot 33 to the east of Eaton Hall. A parking map is available here.