Life in the fast lane

March 29, 2013

Engineering/Computer Science Experience competition Students compete to make race cars during University of Michigan-Dearborn's Engineering/Computer Science Experience. Photo by John Gambotto.

Dozens of high school students crowded around a small, yellow racetrack.

Their eyes were fixed on a small race car that navigated its way along narrow straightaways and winding turns.

Some of the race cars teetered off the track. Those that crossed the finish line were celebrated.

It was all part of University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Engineering/Computer Science Experience held March 23 in the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems building.

Hundreds of high school students visited UM-Dearborn for the eighth annual event, where they competed against one another in engineering, computer programming and web design simulations.

The Engineering Contest awarded prizes to four teams. First place: Erdi Meco and Irals Spaillari from John Glenn High School; second place: Trevor Black and Tom Poeschel from Lake Shore High School; third place: Elio Shahinllari and Kristian Shameti from Livonia Career Technical Center; honorable mention: Alicia Czarnecki and Zach Trippett from Thornapple Kellogg High School.

The Computer Programming Contest handed out awards to first place team Peter Ro and Aaron Zeng from Detroit Country Day and second place team Abhay Goel and Raoul Wadhwa from Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center.

The Web Design Contest was won by Annie Fu and Rachel Xiang from Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, with second place going to Luke Auqilina and Nathan Korth from Livonia Career Technical Center and Manchester High School.

In addition to the competitions, participants got an up-close look at award-winning SAE Formula cars and robots and student-designed video games.

High school students learned more about the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) directly from those with first-hand experience.

Current UM-Dearborn students chatted with students and their parents, sharing insights into life at the university.

“Our students are our greatest ambassadors for the College of Engineering and Computer Science,” said Tony England, dean, CECS. “They spoke at length with parents about the value of our coop program and the level of student involvement on campus.”

Alumni working in the fields of engineering and computer science also were on hand to share their experiences.

Alumni participation has been key to the event’s success since its inception. John Cole ’76 and the CECS Alumni Affiliate Board created the Engineering/Computer Science Experience as a way to increase student interest in the fields.

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