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Annual KU Engineering Expo to Focus on Fun

Monday, February 13, 2012

A University of Kansas School of Engineering tradition more than 100 years strong returns this month with a couple new features.

Engineering Expo

is set for 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24, and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 25 in Eaton and Learned Halls. The theme this year is “Engineering: At the Top of Our Game,” with board games and video games incorporated into Expo exhibits and displays.

More than 1,000 K-12 students from Kansas and Missouri are expected to attend the Friday session, which features a variety of KU student-created displays of engineering and technology as well as engineering competitions for K-12 students. The contests include testing how much weight pasta bridges and popsicle stick towers can support, constructing containers to protect an egg from a two-story drop and designing a volcano with a chemical reaction that triggers the longest flow.

“The teams obviously enjoy competing, and when they win, it’s great to see that success,” said Hayden Maples, a junior in mechanical engineering and co-chair for the 2012 Engineering Expo. “It ties in well with our theme. If the students are at the top of their game during Expo, they’ll see how much fun this is and hopefully they’ll realize that success can carry over into a wonderful career.”

This year’s Expo also features two new competitions. The Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering will host a mud-drilling design competition, to simulate the process of removing petroleum from the ground. There will also be a Lego Mindstorm competition where students are challenged to design and program a robotic device and navigate it through a multi-terrain course.

“We’ve got a lot of great groups involved this year. We’ll have more labs open and more competitions. It’s really exciting,” Maples said. “Hopefully this will show these students that engineering isn’t just boring and hard. You can problem solve, challenge your mind, have success and it can be fun at the same time.”

Visitors also will have the opportunity to hear from an industry leader in engineering and graduate of the KU School of Engineering. Black & Veatch Chief Administrative Officer Jim Lewis will deliver the Engineering Expo keynote address at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 24, at the Lied Center. A full list competitions is available


. Awards for the top spots in each category will be handed out starting at 1 p.m. 

Saturday’s session is an open house, providing the public a chance to see all the wonders of engineering on full display, including KU’s wind tunnel, flight simulator and Jayhawk Motorsports’ student-built competition cars. There is no cost to attend either day of Expo. Those attending Saturday’s events are advised that all public parking will close at noon for the KU-Missouri men’s basketball game, which is set for 3 p.m.

The KU School of Engineering hosted its first Engineering Expo in 1911.

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