Prospective students attend weekend open houses for Engineering, ACES

The Tesla Concert on March 13 featured a wireless electricity transmitter that shot lightning bolts to create music.

Purple and white lightning bolts from Tesla coils flashed across the Bardeen Quad Friday during a musical performance. The coils produced sounds strung together to recreate popular songs, and featured submissions by students attending the 95th annual Engineering Open House.

Over the weekend, the University welcomed prospective students to participate in some of the 250 exhibits showcased at the open house on the Bardeen and Beckman quads.

Trent Calderone, freshman in Engineering, said the events serve as a good opportunity to expose younger students to a variety of engineering disciplines.

“It operates as a spark rather than a textbook — it’s more fun,” he said.

Jon Henricks, director of the open house, said the event gives the local community, alumni and prospective students an opportunity to see what the University’s Engineering students are doing.

“It gives us an opportunity to encourage younger generations of students from middle schools and high schools to explore STEM education fields,” Henricks said.

The Parker Hannifin Chainless Challenge was one exhibit featured at the open house. The challenge is a competition taking place this April in California, where about a dozen schools will present hydraulic fluid transmission bicycles. The competition promotes finding alternatives to existing bicycle technology.

Christian Dawson, senior in mechanical engineering, said the message of the challenge is to think outside the box.

“This is a system that is not ideal for human power, but in using it in a human-powered vehicle, we are trying to bring technologies together that we never thought about bringing together before,” Dawson said. “And sometimes in doing that, you will get solutions that you never thought of before.”

Baja, a returning booth, is part of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Baja designs and builds an off-road vehicle every year.

“It’s pretty cool because it is students doing all the work,” said Aisha Benidettino, member of the Baja SAE car suspension team. “We get to create something of our own and then actually drive it.”

Other colleges such as the College of ACES hosted similar events over the weekend. Some nonengineering prospective students also participated in ExplorACES, aimed at showing innovation and possible majors in the college.

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