Thursday May 09, 2013
Although the Real World Design Challenge has only been in existence since 2008, SBHS has assembled a team each year and for all five years has won the state competition and continued to nationals. This year, at the national competition in Washington D.C. on April 20, team “First Class” won the innovation award which was no small feat. Technology department head Stephen Barner has been the team’s coach every year. “It (coaching and getting students through the challenge) takes hundreds and hundreds of hours over the course of the school year,” Barner said, “The students have been working on the challenge almost daily after school since October.”
The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams are asked to address a challenge that confronts the nation’s leading industries. Students utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions.
Students first compete in a state level Governor’s Cup. The team with the best design in each state gets an all expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to compete in the national finals. There were 3 teams at SBHS, and team “First Class” won the state challenge to move on to the national challenge.
So far, the challenges have all been focused on the aerospace industry.
According to team member and SBHS senior Neel Desai, “This year’s challenge was to design an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to take part in a search and rescue mission to find a lost child in the woods. At the national challenge, we presented our solution to a panel of judges from NASA, Boeing, Cessna and other big companies in the aviation field. There were 45 teams present at nationals. When it was all said and done, our team won the innovation award for having the most innovative design.”
What’s next for Barner and the Real World Design Challenge competitions? Most members of this year’s winning team are graduating and are intending to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
“As long as we can assemble a team next year, and I am confident that we can, I will certainly be the coach. No one else is crazy enough to spend the time that it takes to get a successful team through this challenge” Barner said.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent