More than 300 students across 12 high schools participate in STEM competitions

MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Institute of Engineering hosted more than 300 students across 12 high schools on March 7 for Engineering Day 2019, a series of science, technology, engineering and math-centered challenges designed to teach engineering and construction concepts under the direction of Murray State faculty and staff.

Students competed in 15 events across campus; the University’s new state-of-the-art Engineering and Physics Building served as the main hub, hosting competitions ranging from engineering design, robotics, computer-aided design, carbon dioxide-powered car races and physics.

Students also raced kayaks constructed from PVC pipe and plastic wrap in the Susan E. Bauernfeind Wellness Center swimming pool, showed off robots of their own creation and engineered survival shelters tested by the City of Murray Fire Department for structural integrity.

Dr. Danny Claiborne, chair of the Institute of Engineering, praised the work on display at this year’s E-Day event.

“I’ve met so many great students through this program, and this is all thanks to the hard work of teachers in the classrooms at each of these high schools,” Claiborne said. “We’ve been doing this event for many years, and it’s really grown as an exciting event that encourages students and teachers to invest in STEM education.”

Claiborne added that he sees many E-Day participants go on to enroll at Murray State, becoming successful students in either the engineering, physics, engineering technology, mechanical design or cybersecurity programs.

“We want to give them opportunities to explore these areas,” Claiborne said. “We need more people in these career pathways — not just for the local economy, but for the entire region. The job market is perfect for graduates right now. Many of our students come out of the Institute of Engineering with many offers for internships or full-time jobs.”

The Kentucky Technology Student Association served as a key partner in this year’s E-Day. Mark Harrell of the Kentucky Department of Education, who serves as director of Kentucky TSA, said the event was a great way to get students involved in engineering.

“This is about getting kids engaged inside and outside of school,” Harrell said, adding that many of the projects on display were made at their respective high schools. “There are so many unique competitions and entries here that I think are a great testament to the work that’s been put into them.”

Schools that participated this year include:

• Trigg County High School (overall winner)

• Stewart County High School

• Ballard Memorial High School

• Hancock County High School

• Owensboro Innovation Academy

• Graves County High School

• Fulton County High School

• Webster County Area Technology Center

• Lyon County High School

• Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center

• Calloway County High School

• Marshall County High School

Photo: The Murray State University Institute of Engineering hosted more than 300 students across 12 high schools for Engineering Day 2019. Pictured are a group of students racing homemade kayaks across the pool at the Susan E. Bauernfeind Wellness Center.

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