Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – I LOVE being an Engineering Ambassador! Last week, another Ambassador and I got the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to represent the Russ College as judges at the finals of the national Future City Competition and it was awesome!
Future City is a national project-based competition where middle schoolers imagine and design futuristic cities and present their visions through scale models, essays, presentations, and a SimCity software simulation. Their projects are then judged on everything from transportation systems to city self-sufficiency to presentation skills. There were so many incredible presentations this year!
Groups compete regionally, and if they win in their region they are invited to the national competition in Washington, D.C. Evan and I acted as general judges and as judges for a Special Award–Best Personal Transportation System–and we heard some very creative solutions! Many groups incorporated several different futuristic ideas, such as autonomous pods charged by a road made of photovoltaic cells or a moving sidewalk. Some ideas were very imaginative and it was great to see kids thinking about engineering principles at such a young age. Many of them were excited continue their engineering educations and admitted they were thinking of becoming engineers. Success!
My personal favorite part of the competition was judging the scale models that the kids made. They had to be constructed of recycled materials ans have certain features. I saw buildings made of everything from vacuum heads to old computer equipment to car parts, all spray painted or decorated to resemble futuristic cities. The creativity of these kids was incredible, and their pride in their work was very inspiring.