All-Female Team Wins Top Award at 2016 Engineering Design Challenge

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, April 29th, 2016

For the first time ever, an all-female team swept the Overall Winner category at the 2016 Engineering Design Challenge, presented by Armstrong State University’s Engineering Studies program on Saturday, April 23. The winning team, comprised of Sharmayne Clark, Keyera McDowell and Wilycia Lemon of New Hampstead High School in Bloomingdale, Ga., received a $500 cash prize.
The challenge showcased the ingenuity and creativity of students from Beach High School, Calvary Baptist Day School, Jenkins High School, New Hampstead High School, Savannah Arts Academy, Savannah Christian Preparatory School, Savannah Early College and Savannah High School. Each team, comprised of four to six students, designed and built a self-propelled, battery-operated hovercraft, with the assistance of a project mentor and Armstrong students. The final competition included a 20-meter race, a timed maneuver course and a design poster presentation with an engineering journal evaluation.
“A strong 21st-century economy cannot be sustained without highly skilled, innovative, globally competitive STEM employees and employers who also have a vested interest in the development of their community or country,” noted Armstrong Professor and Engineering Studies Program Coordinator Dr. Cameron Coates. “We need passionate, practical and creative STEM employees from diverse backgrounds, many of whom may start their own companies or work locally. The Engineering Design Challenge sows the seeds for the growth of these types of employees by engaging our local students and providing them with an experience that develops the passion and fortitude needed to be successful in STEM programs at the undergraduate level and beyond.”
The Engineering Design Challenge 2016 was sponsored by Gulfstream and the Georgia Space Grant Consortium. Engineers from several local companies evaluated and selected the winning design, which incorporated a thrust reverser system and steering mechanism to clock the fastest times for maneuvering, racing and stopping. Judging criteria were based on creativity in overall design, control of the hovercraft, clarity and organization of an engineering journal and a poster presentation, as well as performance in the maneuvering, racing and stopping events.
The Savannah Christian Preparatory School team, comprised of Judy Petrillo, Jay Bradley, Robby McCool, Camilla Quintero, Colson Jeffries and Henry White, was the second-place winner and also won the award for the Most Aesthetic entry.
The New Hampstead team also won the award for the Most Innovative entry, while the Savannah Arts Academy team, which included Russel McGrath, Soniya Bhagat, John Saadfalcon, Kashta Muhamad and Lucy Arntsen, won the award for Safest Design.