FPE Gears up for its 6th High School Design Challenge

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Above: Sebastian Chai-Onn - FPE Coordinator for Recruitment, Retention and Outreach - discusses the major and the design challenge with students at South River High School in Edgewater, Md.

The UMD Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) Annual Design Challenge is a one-of-a-kind competition geared towards encouraging high school students in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area to bolster their problem-solving skills as a means of solving real-world problems. Each student team of no more than five people will design, construct and (burn) test a small housing model where the ultimate goal is to create a novel and innovative suppression system. The hope is to inspire young students to study engineering by bolstering their comprehension of fire protection engineering principles, providing them with valuable design and construction experience, putting scientific theory into practice, and increasing confidence in STEM subjects.

"We are pleased to offer high school students the chance to participate in our 6th consecutive Design Challenge,” said Sebastian Chai-Onn, FPE Coordinator for Recruitment, Retention and Outreach. “Thanks to a new partnership with ADT Commercial, this year we’re able to provide kits to each team so their models can incorporate common items fire protection engineers use. Our goal is to not only offer high school students a chance to work on common engineering scenarios, but to offer insight into what fire protection engineers can do with this degree.”

The opening/kick-off event will be Wednesday, November 13, at 4:30 in the Clark Hall Forum. At this time, the student groups will have the opportunity to meet their competitors and Challenge mentors, as well as talk to current FPE students and faculty members, perhaps even bouncing ideas off of them.

The final burn competition will be held in April, 2020. The winning team will get an exclusive tour of the Clark School of Engineering facilities, lunch with the FPE department, tickets to a UMD athletic event, and tote bags full of UMD swag.

To get involved or receive additional information, visit the FPE High School Design Challenge webpage (https://fpe.umd.edu/events/design-challenge), or send an email to fpedc@umd.edu.

Published September 26, 2019