Tennessee Tech students claim 'Triple Crown' of engineering awardsIf there were a triple crown for engineering competitions, students at Tennessee Technological University say they would have won it handily this spring.
From designing, building and racing human-powered submarines to constructing two-inch concrete cubes that withstand 8,000 pounds of pressure, the students know their stuff.
In separate contests featuring teams from across the eastern United States or from around the globe, engineering students at Tennessee Tech claimed:
- Gold and silver medals for top speeds in human-powered submarine racing;
- First and third place honors in the American Concrete Institution's Lightweight High-Strength Concrete Cube Competition; and a
- First place overall in Mini-Baja East, which challenges students to design, build and race all-terrain vehicles.
Technically -- and engineers are big into technicalities -- the students qualify for a quadruple crown. A team from Tennessee Tech also finished first in a software contest for electrical engineers at the Southeastern Conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and claimed second place honors in the conference's hardware competition.
The wins show Tennessee Tech's engineering students are no slouches when it comes to applying classroom learning to real-world situations, according to George Swisher, dean of the College of Engineering at Tennessee Technological University.
"The competitions are important for several reasons," Swisher said. "For one, they help students develop their team-building and team-working abilities, and certainly the events allow them to apply their educational background to real-world problems. There's some spirit of competition in there, too. They do like to compete."
Swisher said the real value of the efforts lies in the confidence they instill in young engineers and the opportunities the events provide for Tennessee Tech students to measure their educational experience against students from other, often larger, universities.
"The competitions offer an excellent opportunity for students to see how they apply their abilities in comparison to students at other universities. The fact that our students swept this year's awards speaks well for the education they're receiving here."