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Howard Community College Celebrates National Engineers Week

engineering students work on multi-story Eiffel Tower made with K'nex pieces.

Howard Community College celebrated National Engineers Week March 22-26 to call attention to the valuable contributions of engineers to society.

Throughout the week, the Science, Engineering, and Technology Division sponsored events in the Burrill Galleria. Activities included a design competition, student engineering showcase, a hands-on hard drive data correction activity and the popular cooperative build project.

The celebration kicked off with the annual design competition, where teams were tasked with designing a contraption to sort balls by size with a 25 minute time limit. Construction materials for the competition were comprised of paper clips, tape and other common office supplies.

Darsh Patel, David Dominguez, Kyle Sutton and Daniel Volinski took the victory as the winning team, building a machine that sorted 93-percent of the balls.

The week ended with the two-day long cooperative build, a favorite for Mark Edelen, chair of the Engineering and Technology Department.

“This is the one I look forward to the most,” he said.

The build began late Thursday morning, with engineering students and passersby dropping by the Galleria to grab handfuls of K’NEX and get to work. This year’s project was a 1:40 scale model of the Eiffel Tower, with a finished height of 26-feet. Edelen estimated about 20,000 K’NEX would be used to complete the project.

Participants had a photograph of the Eiffel Tower, but no other instructions.

“That’s what makes it fun – we don’t really have a plan,” Edelen said.

By Friday morning, the colorful base looked almost complete. But the looks were deceiving. The base was too flimsy.

“We reconstructed the whole entire base because it wasn’t holding any weight,” said Shivam Patel, an engineering lab aide.

By 2 p.m., Patel, who had already put 10 hours into the build, wasn’t worried about putting the second layer on top of the new base. But he couldn’t say the same for the top pillar – the final piece of the build.

“That’s the one I’m worried about,” he said.

Edelen also had some doubts.

“But a core group of about 10 students hung around until 8 p.m. Friday to finish the final assembly,” he said. “We had to be clever to assemble the final pieces without a ladder, but managed to pull it off.”

Topics: Science & Tech
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