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Young engineers engage in construction activities

Students from seven New Brunswick public schools participated in “Young Engineers Day,” where they built bridges out of popsicle sticks and created structures to soften the landing of hard-boiled eggs when dropped from 10 feet high.

Young Engineers Day took place in the Busch Campus Center last Wednesday and was a part of Rutgers’ Engineers Week. The event pushed students to cooperate in teams to push scientific and economic constraints — a necessity in the field of engineering.

Ben Skolozdra, a School of Engineering senior, said the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi hosted the bridge building activity to demonstrate how different structures support different objects.  

The egg drop was the joint effort of two members of the coeducational professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau: Andrea Martinez, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, and Daniel Hillman, a School of Engineering sophomore.

The activity proved challenging for students because they had to construct a landing pad so a hard-boiled egg dropped from 10 feet high would not crack.

Martinez said the supplied materials included: cotton balls, yarn, straws, cups and newspaper.

Hillman noted that the fifth and sixth graders were the most creative.

“It’s strange to see such amazing ideas coming from such young minds,” Martinez said.

Damiano Palladino, a Clinton Public School student, thought the activity was an exciting extension of what he learned in class.

“In the classroom we were just reading a book,” he said. “Here, we learned how to work in groups and set up with everyone else’s ideas in mind.”

Another activity had the teams compete to construct a ramp that would stop a cart from moving down a steep slope. Neha Desai, representative of the Engineering Governing Council, said the activity tested students’ ability to cooperate with others and gave them a taste of real-world engineering.

Desai, a School of Engineering junior, said the activity served as a representation of real-world engineering because the teams had to compromise and work with limited funding.

“This activity serves as very good outreach because it offers great exposure to the idea of teamwork,” she said. “It’s a type of exposure that you don’t get anywhere else.”

Serena Mueller, a School of Engineering senior, felt the event was necessary for students to understand their options in the field. She gave a speech to the younger students, where she talked about what being an engineering student meant to her.  

“In general, just because things are sort of interesting to you and it’s not that difficult doesn’t mean you’re going to do it for the rest of your life,” she said. “Whatever job you choose, you should make sure you’re making a difference in someone’s life — big or small.”

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