Computer software a reward in student competition

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(Host) Schools across Vermont will be eligible to receive up to a million dollars worth of educational engineering software under a special collaboration of government and business groups.

The program, which is known as the Real World Design Challenge, calls on schools to create student teams which will be asked to design a more fuel efficient airplane.

The goal of the project is to interest more students in pursing a career in engineering.

As part of the competition, the Parametric Technology Corporation has agreed to provide up to a million dollars in computer software to each school that participates in the program.

Roughly 100 teachers in Vermont have received preliminary certification for the competition. They’ll need to upgrade their skills at summer workshops.  The workshops will also be open to other teachers who want to create a team at their school.

Bill Valdez works in the Workforce Development Office at the U.S. Department of Energy – one of the groups sponsoring the design competition:

(Valdez) "This contest this competition is designed to bring the engineering into the high schools and middle schools of the United States in way that excites students that gets them working on real world design challenges and enables them participate at a very early age in the innovation economy."

(Host) Andrew Giroux is a sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School. He’s participated in a number of other science competition programs and he says efforts like this one are really important for students:

(Giroux) "This is why I’m very excited to take part in this challenge it’s not always about learning but it’s about inspiring if one is inspired the learning will follow I’m sure this program will inspire the students of today."

(Host) The actual competition will begin in October. The student teams will then have 6 months to come up with their innovative design for a more fuel efficient airplane.

The winning Vermont design will then be placed in a national competition.

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