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Day of activities demonstrates fun side to engineering

Spending a day in the Centre for Engineering Innovation helped convince Dilshan Pieris that the subject could be fun.

“We crash-tested crumple zones for some remote control trucks and built bridges out of popsicle sticks,” he said. “Engineering is more interesting after today!”

Pieris was one of about 100 grade 11 students of academic and enriched science at Vincent Massey Secondary School to participate in the all-day experience Friday, May 25.

“This is a unique opportunity to have them come to campus, do some of our outreach activities, and give them a general feel for what engineering is like at the University of Windsor,” said Mike Konstantino, outreach coordinator for the faculty.

He said the new building is a great setting for the event, in its third year, but held for the first time in the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

“When they broke into planning groups, we could give each a classroom to work in,” Konstantino said. “It’s just less crowded and makes a better learning environment.”

The highlight of the day was a competition in which students designed and constructed bridges to support a crossing by a hydrogen fuel cell remote control car. Students whooped and hollered as their projects held up—or not.

“The kids absolutely had a great time,” said Massey physics teacher Melanie Rousseau. “They were able to apply some of their math and science skills and really use their imaginations.”

The outreach efforts are useful is educating in the high schoolers about the profession of engineering, said Edwin Tam, Windsor Engineering’s assistant dean for student affairs.

“Massey generally produces many students interested in pursuing engineering as a post-secondary option, but there aren’t any high school courses in the subject,” he said. “A day like this can introduce them to what engineering is.”

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