For the past two months, nearly 50 students from four local high schools participated in the Second Annual GHD Student Engineering Contest.
The seven student teams were students from local high schools including Baldwinsville, Cazenovia, Chittenango and East Syracuse Minoa. This year, students from the greater Syracuse area had a very difficult challenge to design and build a classroom-scale materials recovery facility (MRF).
The students’ MRF had to be capable of sorting 10 pounds of mixed recyclables into pre-labeled bins of specified materials. In their designs, the students were asked to consider the weight and the value of the recovered recyclables, as well as the operability, automation, and efficiency (time and energy) of their facilities.
The GHD Student Engineering Contest aims to foster interest in the field of engineering, by challenging student engineers to tackle real life engineering tasks under the guidance and mentorship of volunteers from GHD.
This competition is also meant to stimulate the students’ intellectual growth, promote teamwork and provide students with the opportunity to ask the engineering staff career and education questions. Numerous volunteers from the GHD Cazenovia office were integral to the successful completion of this undertaking. Six young professionals volunteered as student team mentors and four additional, experienced professionals volunteered to serve as contest judges in varying capacities.
On Feb. 7, the competition began with a chartering meeting for all of the participating students at a conference center, which was followed by a site visit to a local MRF, owned by Waste Management and operated for a client, the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency.
On Saturday, March 31, students gathered in one of the participating high school’s gymnasium to construct and test their devices for the final competition. GHD volunteers and judges were very impressed with the designs and innovations developed by the participating students.
Students and Team Leaders from the local high schools all enjoyed the challenge and learned many important aspects of engineering from time management to problem solving to using power tools.
Both school members and GHD volunteers said they are looking forward to next year’s competition.
Allison Muehe is Engineer III and Service Line Coordinator at GHD. She can be reached at 679-5723 or Allison.Muehe@ghd.com.