Electrical engineering student Ezra Young (Sr.) sat on the floor in his residence hall room surrounded by pizza boxes, bits of wires, and scribbled out measurements. He and his teammates had already changed their design three times since starting earlier that evening. Patiently, he reassembled parts, paying close attention to the wiring. “Blue Streak” as his teammates wished to call the design, was finally finished. The 2017 Engineering Competition was the next morning.
Each year, engineering students of all classifications have the opportunity to test their knowledge in an extra-curricular engineering competition. The contest, headed by Dr. Joel Porcher, chair of the Engineering Department, brings both electrical and mechanical engineering students together for some friendly competition. He said, “They’re doing their homework, they’re taking tests, and in the meantime, they get together to have some fun.”
This year’s competition challenged teams to create hovercraft vehicles, designed and built entirely by the students. These remote-controlled vehicles were tested for strength, speed, control, and maneuverability.
One team, led by H.J. Sipes (Sr.), a mechanical engineering student, used the College’s 3D printer along with foam board, a plastic bag, and racing drone components to create their hovercraft. A smaller design than the others, their hovercraft competed fiercely, ultimately ranking second place overall. H.J. said, “I love how much I have learned here, how God has set all these constants in place for us to be able to build with. The more I learn about engineering, math, and science, the more I can see the order of the universe, and God’s absolute power.”
Three of the four vehicles entered placed first in at least one part of the event, with Ezra’s team placing first overall. Ezra said, “In engineering, usually the most creative design gets it done right—it may not be pretty—as you can see it’s a pizza box completely reformed.”
The winning team’s names will be engraved in a plaque in the MacKenzie Building, where engineering students spend a good portion of their college career studying God’s laws and how to harness them for the benefit of mankind.