SOUTHFIELD — Nearly 100 students from four Detroit-area high schools will participate today in the second annual Engineering SMArT Michigan Competition for a chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarship money. The competition is sponsored by The Engineering Society of Detroit and will take place on the campus of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

Participating schools are:

  • Cody High School’s Detroit Institute of Technology
  • Detroit Central Collegiate Academy
  • Hamtramck High School
  • Melvindale High School

Launched in 2012 in partnership with United Way, Engineering SMArT Michigan gives high school students the opportunity to apply science, engineering and technology to real life situations, and find out first-hand how these core subjects can have a direct impact on people’s lives. The name is an acronym for Science, Mathematics, Architecture and Technology.

The 2014 student teams research and eventually design an energy efficient home by drawing architectural designs and writing an essay on their engineering design experience throughout the semester. The teams then present their work in an oral presentation, in front of a team of engineering professionals.

In preparing for the competition, students gain valuable skills in time management, public speaking and presentation skills. Each student from the top three winning teams receives a $30,000 scholarship from Lawrence Technological University — $6,000 per year over a five-year program.

Dozens of volunteer engineer mentors helped students understand energy concepts that include environmental challenges, the electrical grid, alternative energies and energy efficient building materials, as well as how to do architectural drawings to scale. Students also got to take several field trips, including one to the Smart House at DTE Energy Headquarters. Dozens more volunteer engineer judges with expertise in energy and building systems will winnow the entries down to the three finalists.

The competition, the first of its kind in Michigan, expands on ESD’s successful tradition of supporting youth education in engineering. The ultimate goal is to expand the competition to all high schools in Michigan.

The event seeks to help solve a serious problem in Michigan and across the country – a critical shortage of engineers and related technical professionals. Experts predict that 80 percent of the jobs that will be created over the next 10 years will require some form of post-secondary STEM education. And urban areas supply far fewer students to engineering schools than other geographic areas, mostly due to lack of exposure to career opportunities.


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