Last April, 20 Brown County High School students signed up for Purdue’s Boiler Tech Challenge, a competition consisting of unknown challenges for schools to solve. By the end, the entire group won big with one group winning first three other groups winning second. As the competition for 2019 comes near, engineering teacher Mr. Christopher Townsend and the students chosen will be entering again to try and bring back home the Boilermaker Train Trophy.
This will be Brown County High School’s second year in participating, and this will also be Purdue Columbus’s ninth year hosting the event, overall, as it started back in 2010. As for The Boiler Tech Challenge, the 132 students who signed up for it will be celebrating Purdue’s 150th anniversary with the university’s famous motto. “The theme is ‘Take Giant Leaps,’” Whitney Ramer, the current overall head of the event stated. “So that’s Purdue’s motto and theme for the overall celebration…Purdue, sort of playing off of the giant leap that Neil Armstrong did on the moon…each of those challenges connects to a giant leap that Purdue did.” There are five challenges that the overall Boiler Tech Challenge team have thought of since April of last year. Their titles are Land It, Launch It, Build It, Stack It, and Power It. This and what group they are in are the only pieces of information students receive until they enter the Purdue College of Technology building in Columbus, Indiana.
The competition requires twenty students, their grade levels being sophomore and above. Mr. Townsend replied many competitions require them to finish their Intro to Engineering courses; otherwise, he has to choose a group of students ranging from sophomore to senior. He takes into consideration of a student’s, “General interest in engineering, performance in the engineering coursework that they take as well as other courses…their ability to work as a team…good work ethic, and a positive attitude.” There also requires readiness for the unknown, as the only information given to the students are the titles of their challenges.
The main purpose of the competition is to show what Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus has in store for engineering students. Alongside that comes knowledge and experience of STEM and engineering. One of the seniors in the team, Gabi Bethards, seem to have done so. “I learned a little bit more about the basic mechanics that go into making a magnet. That would be toward electrical and mechanical engineering…I also learned about the opportunities that they offer at IUPUC and IvyTech.”
Overall, the people who arrange the event and the Brown County High School engineering teacher hopes that the students who participate will learn various experiences and skill sets for their future. Until April 5, the high school students who signed up await for the challenges to come their way.