Civil Press Release Story

Final Exam: Build a Better Hovercraft, Build a Better Engineer

Clark School’s Spring 2012 Hovercraft Competition to Take Place May 10

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Melissa Corley
301 405 6501

WHAT: Witness the most unique final exam you’ll ever see – the Clark School’s Hovercraft Competition (otherwise known as the final exam of ENES 100, “Introduction to Engineering Design,” the Clark School's signature course that all engineering students must take in their freshman year). Undergraduate student teams will launch their hand-built, autonomous hovercraft to navigate around a track. The two-foot hovercraft are constructed of foam, batteries, an Arduino UNO microcontroller, fans, sensors and other components. Each vehicle must float on a cushion of air and propel forward to complete the course. This semester, each must locate, retrieve and transport a randomly located payload.

WHO: Hundreds of freshmen engineering students will take part in the competition. They will be joined by faculty members of the Keystone Program, which administers the course and competition. Keystone faculty members are among the best teachers in the Clark School and are hand-selected for this course. Teaching fellows – undergraduate students who have already taken the course and are interested in developing leadership skills – also will be on-hand.

WHY: Hands-on challenges are important in order to interest and motivate students to study engineering and the other STEM disciplines. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through this class, students also learn interpersonal skills, problem-solving strategies, confidence and other qualities that will help them throughout the rest of their time as students and as engineers once they graduate. Many students consider this course to be one of their best educational experiences at the Clark School.

WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Rotunda of the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building
University of Maryland, College Park

**Please call ahead for directions and parking information**

Watch a live stream of the competition on 5/10 on the Keystone Program homepage:

More Information: 

For more information about the Keystone Program and Hovercraft Competition, please read this article from the Spring 2010 issue of E@M Magazine.