MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Institute of Engineering hosted more than 400 students across 12 high schools on March 5 for Engineering Day 2020, a series of engineering, technology, physics and math-centered challenges designed to explore engineering, construction and cybersecurity 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, drone technology, robotics, computer-aided design, carbon dioxide-powered car races and physics experiments.
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 at E-Day, and this is all thanks to the hard work of the teachers in the classrooms at each of these high schools,” Claiborne said. “We’ve been hosting this event for many years, and it’s really grown as an exciting event that encourages students and teachers to invest in STEM education and allows students to explore career paths in engineering and technology.”
Claiborne added that he sees many E-Day participants go on to enroll at Murray State, becoming successful students in either the engineering, physics, construction, automation, computer-aided 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. Our students come out of the Institute of Engineering with multiple job offers for internships or full-time jobs.”
The Kentucky Technology Student Association (TSA) 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:
• Hancock County High School
• Trigg County High School
• Stewart County High School
• Hopkins County Career and Technical Center
• McCracken County High School
• Paducah Tilghman High School
• Owensboro Innovation Academy (overall winner)
• Graves County High School
• Fulton County High School
• Lyon County High School
• Calloway County High School
• Marshall County High School