University hosts JETS competition for first time

By Katherine Schotz

Contributing Writer

The University hosted the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) competition on Feb. 15. There were six regional area high schools that participated in the two-part event.

The students competed first in an 80-question multiple choice team test followed by an essay-writing event. The overall theme, which was decided nationally, was energy and the global need for diversification, efficiency and ecological sustainability.

The theme came from the general rising interest in environmental issues, said Keith Buffinton, interim Dean of the College of Engineering. He continued to say the interest rose “partly as a result of the gulf oil spill.”

University officials scored the first part of the competition, and the essays were scored by national officials. The results will not be announced until later, according to Muyambi Muyambi ’11, an engineering student who helped coordinate the event.

“The National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC) is an annual design competition in which students in grades 9-12 put their creativity and problem-solving skills to use and create a workplace assistive technology device for a person with a disability,” according to the organization’s website.

About 10,000 students participate in the event nationally. Only the top five teams from across the country will get to compete in a national competition, to be held Feb. 17-18 in Washington, D.C.

The top three teams from Tuesday’s competition were Pottsgrove High School, Weatherly High School and Loyalsock Township High School. Each student who participated in the competition received a certificate of participation.

“The essay question section was really difficult,” said Dan Douglas, a senior from Weatherly High School. Douglas is on the math team at his high school and as a result was chosen to be a part of the team.

This was the first time that the University hosted the annual event, and the College of Engineering sponsored the event. In addition to competing, the students also went on a tour of the University. The tour was focused on the College of Engineering.

“It’s great that the event promotes engineering for high school students,” Muyambi said.

In the closing ceremony of the competition, Buffinton said he hoped that wherever the students pursue their college degrees they should look into the fields of math, science, technology and engineering.

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