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EAC and Phelps Dodge host a successful Engineering Day competition

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EAC and Phelps Dodge host a successful Engineering Day competition

By Lori Dugan

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College and Phelps Dodge hosted a new annual Engineering Day in early April that was attended by 47 students from six area high schools including: Duncan, Morenci, Safford, St. David, Thatcher, and Gila Preparatory Academy (of Safford). The day was filled with individual and team competitions as well as demonstrations and lectures from experts in the field of engineering.

“The event was very competitive!” said EAC Engineering Instructor, Dr. Gustavo Maldonado. “Numerous contributions from Phelps Dodge and strong participation from several high schools were crucial in being able to present students with this opportunity to enjoy math, the sciences, and engineering.”

The day started with the Poor Man’s Surveyor competition during which the students used the length of their own stride to determine the area of a piece of land. The first place finisher in the Poor Man’s Surveyor contest was Taylor Thygerson of St. David High School, second place went to Jordan Sanders, also from St. David.

The next competition of the day was the Deep Dive. In this competition, students watched a movie on innovation, teamwork and brainstorming processes. Then they answered questions on general and particular details of the movie. The first and second position was tied by two students who answered all of the questions correctly: Keegan Battraw and Larry Hunt, both of Thatcher High School.

The Spagetti Beam competition was a team-based competition during which, each team had to produce the longest possible cantilever beam that extended as far as possible from their table without touching the ground (floor). The first-place winners in this event were Sheridan Aden, PJ Bryan, Charles Gamblin, and Travis Lunt from Duncan High School. The second-place team was Alan Brabham, Michael Miranda, Cody Pearson, and Jonathan Williams of Morenci High School.

The next competition of the day was the West Point Bridge where competitors were given predefined span length, materials, and costs. The object of the contest was to design a stable full truss bridge at a minimum cost. Travis Lunt, of Duncan High School walked away with top honors and second place went to Eric Kendall of St. David High School.

The Egg Drop was another team competition where each team enclosed an egg in an egg-protection device and dropped it from an 18-foot height. Students produced the devices with officially available materials. Only four eggs survived the fall. The first-place winners were Creighton Brown from Gila Preparatory Academy, Eric Kendall, Jordan Sanders, and Taylor Thygerson, all of St. David High School. Second place honors went to a Morenci High School Team: Cheryl Best, Alyssa Cuthbertson, Mindy Vasquez, and Stanley Vise.

The final contest of the day was the The Brain Teaser in which students had only 30 minutes to answer 20 brain-twisting questions. First place went to Alyssa Cuthbertson of Morenci High School, and second place was a tie between Andrew Norton and Mike Payne, both of Duncan High School.

The first and second individual OVERALL winners were Travis Lunt of Duncan High School in first place and Taylor Thygerson of St. David High School in second place. Both received palmtop computers (Dell Axim X51v) contributed by Phelps Dodge Mining Company.

Lunt had an impressive performance during the full engineering day. He obtained the first position in the Spaghetti-Beam and West Point Bridge competitions. He ranked third in the Deep-Dive and Egg-Drop competitions. He obtained 14 right answers in the Brain-Teasing contest. He also ranked eighth in the Poor-Surveyor contest.

Thygerson also presented a superb performance. He ranked first in the Poor-Surveyor and Egg-Drop competitions. He obtained the second position in the Deep-Dive contest and fifth place in the Spaghetti-Beam competition. He also obtained 13 correct answers in the Brain-Teasing contest.

“The individuals I would have to name as important contributors to the success of this event is far too long to list,” said Maldonado. “But I must tell you that without the commitment of Phelps Dodge; EAC staff, faculty, and students; and the faculty and students from these six high schools, this huge event could not have taken place. To all of them I offer a sincere thank-you.”

For information about next year’s EAC/Phelps Dodge Engineering Day, call EAC’s Engineering Department at 428-8226.