FORT WAYNE, Ind.— A city of the future, Recropolis, engineered by students from Woodside Middle School in Fort Wayne, recently won two of the 26 special awards at the 2013 National Engineers Week Foundation Future City® Competition in Crystal City, Va. The award for Best Indoor Environment encompasses occupant comfort, productivity, energy efficiency, or air quality and was sponsored by ASHRAE. The Best Future City Project Plan Award was sponsored by the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation.
The middle school student team included Brandon Blumenherst, Sarah Carter, Sam Dvorak, Madisen Parker, Teryn Kline, and John Steiner. It was led by teacher Laura Smith and volunteer mentor Troy Larkins, an engineer with Engineering Resources Inc. Their “city” advanced to the national finals by having the highest aggregate score among the 24 teams at the Indiana competition held January 19 at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). The team competed against 36 other finalist teams at the national finals
The annual challenge has received national attention and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle school students nationwide to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Through hands-on applications, Future City participants discover how engineering is both accessible and can make a difference in the world.
“Future City had a big impact on my 8th grade year” said student Teryn Kline. “I learned valuable information that I will keep with me throughout the years. Teamwork and responsibility were two big aspects of the project. Overall, Future City was an amazing experience that I believe all teens should participate in. I enjoyed every moment of working with my team and the once-in-a-lifetime experience of traveling to Washington D.C. for a national competition.”
Tasked with the challenge to “Rethink Runoff: Design Clean Solutions to Manage Stormwater Pollution,” this theme was an integral part of the team’s presentation, their city model, and essay. Student Sam Dvorak said, “I never took into full consideration the harmful effects that runoff can have on cities and their water supplies until now. Instead of just looking at the harmful effects runoff has, I now also look at how we can use it to our advantage to help with the world's potable water supply. I learned a lot about the skills that I need to use for the rest of my life, such as prioritizing and planning. These skills will continue to get more and more important as I grow older, and I had a great opportunity to practice these during this project. I found it very interesting to learn about how cities operate. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that I never knew about before this project. I now realize the importance of zoning and city planning in order for cities to be successful.”
All the students appreciated the efforts of their teacher and mentor and described the trip as “an experience that I will cherish forever” and “undoubtedly my favorite school-related trip I have ever been on.”
For more information on the national competition, contact Woodside Middle School teacher Laura Smith at 260-431-2701 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Indiana Future City® competition held each year at IPFW, contact Carol Dostal, College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science outreach program director, at 260-481-6905 or email@example.com.