Wednesday, February 4, 2009

UGA to Host Competition to Inspire High School Students about Engineering

The University of Georgia will host eight teams of students from seven Georgia high schools for a Junior Engineering Technical Society competition on Thursday, Feb. 19. The theme of the national competition, to be held at Driftmier Engineering Center on the UGA campus, is Behind the Scenes at America’s Theme Parks.

An annual academic competition designed to give students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to discover real-world applications of math and science, the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science program utilizes actual engineering scenarios to challenge students and demonstrate the possibilities of a career in engineering. The national competitions for 2009 will take place at more than 75 locations across the country between Feb. 2 and March 15. Thousands of students are hosted by colleges and universities every year to inspire critical thinking and teamwork while fostering enthusiasm for math and science during the one-day event.

“This competition can inspire students far beyond the classroom by helping them see the wonders math and science can bring to life such as roller coasters, monitoring equipment in hospitals, at play grounds and more,” said John Mativo, an associate professor in the College of Education’s department of workforce education, leadership and social foundations and one of the co-chairs for the event. “When students compete in TEAMS they learn the answer to that age-old question, ‘When will I ever use this?’ And the answer is as an engineer.”

“With this year’s JETS/TEAMS competition, we wanted to provide the students within the Northeast Georgia area the opportunity to evaluate their aptitude at solving some typical engineering problems encountered by designers of theme parks,” said Chi Thai, associate professor in the department of biological and agricultural engineering and a co-chair of the event. “The goal is for students to recognize ‘engineering’ aspects in their everyday life,” Thai said.

Both Mativo and Thai are members of the UGA Faculty of Engineering. Thai will hold a workshop on robotics for advisors during the afternoon test session.

For more information on the event and to register teams for the 2009 JETS/TEAMS competition at UGA, go to http://www.engr.uga.edu/people/thai/JETS-TEAMS.html

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