(San Antonio, TX) – The 31st annual State STEM Competition for the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) was sponsored by Boeing and held at the Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
The event, offered free of cost to participants, brought together 283 high-achieving students from across Texas, who traveled 7,174 miles to compete. TAME students from grades 6-12 qualified to attend the State STEM Competition at Divisional events hosted by the Chapters. This year’s Divisional STEM Competition season saw a record-breaking number of participants—1,548 students competing across 13 different chapters. View Divisional results here.
At the State level, students competed in individual, timed math and science tests and in teams for an engineering design challenge. The top five students in each test received awards. The top five teams in the engineering design challenge were also recognized. In addition, three teams received special awards for design, creativity and teamwork. All winners were honored with trophies or medals and all participants received a variety of door prizes and giveaways thanks to generous sponsorships. View State results here.
One student, Lily Hernandez of the Lubbock Chapter, received the Outstanding Student Award sponsored by Shell Oil Company. Another student, Eunsuh Cho of the Capital Area Chapter, received recognition and $100 for winning the Boeing “Build Something Better” T-Shirt Design Contest.
Educator Workshop offers strategies for hands-on engineering activities
While students competed in math and science, TAME teachers, volunteers, and adult chaperones came together for professional development in an Educator Workshop presented by Iridescent, the makers of Curiosity Machine. The workshop offered educators useful strategies on how to bring engineering concepts into the classroom, club, and home. See photos.
Students step into engineering roles to solve real-world problems
This year’s challenge was inspired by Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, and the mechanism needed to wrap the fuselage with lightweight composite materials like carbon fiber. Students had an hour to design, build, and test a self-supported wrapping machine that could cover a fuselage with a single layer of fiber—with no gaps or overlapping strands.
Students stepped eagerly into five official roles like System Engineer, Structural Engineer, and Production Engineer. Then they rose to the occasion, creating such a wide range of prototypes that one even needed to be taped to the wall. Groups took names like “The Craftsmen,” and “Self Supportive Group of Talented Engineers,” and named their creations with clever titles like “Boeingian Rhapsody.”
Participants often discover that teaming up other like-minded students during the challenge leaves them with a sense of purpose and belonging. When asked what her favorite part of the day was, one student chose the Engineering Design Challenge and wrote, “Joining with students from other places and working towards a common goal.”
The key to success is education
“I am an engineer—and so are you.” When Castilleja took the stage for his keynote speech, he hoped to share “just how great our teams are as we work together to build the future of flight.” A hush fell over the auditorium as students, some still holding their prototypes, leaned forward and listened to how a student from Baytown, Texas became an engineer dreaming of spaceflight.
Castilleja shared his experience as a first-generation Hispanic engineer who has done incredible work with the Boeing CST-100, the first reusable spacecraft designed for travel to the International Space Station. He spoke passionately about his mother’s motto, “La llave del éxito es la Educación,” or “The key to success is education.”
Students and teachers alike were awed by the stories and videos Castilleja shared. “Such an inspiring talk about going to Mars for TAME,” tweeted Jennifer Barnett, a teacher from TAME’s Capital Area Chapter. “I want to sign up!!”
“I’m so grateful that the work we do allows us to really make a difference in young peoples’ lives,” she said. “I get a little teary-eyed, looking at that photo and how much it seemed to mean to Mario and his mother, and even to Tony. Who wouldn’t be proud to be a part of TAME?”
Awards Ceremony and recognition for student teams
“This is the best day of my life!” whispered one student to a volunteer, before walking onstage to claim his trophy.
TAME also had several university partners represented at the event – Tricia Gore from UT Austin, Dr. Kendall Harris from Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Michael Frye, Dr. Okan Caglayan from the Univ. of Incarnate Word, Dr. Sreedevi Ande from Palo Alto College, Jeff Lacy and Jeremy Donald from Trinity University and Gavin Nichols from the San Antonio Area Foundation. Several students from Palo Alto College, and from the San Antonio NSBE Chapter also helped at the event.
Special thanks to Dayni Alba, Tony Castilleja, Bryan Scott, Mina Parvinchi, Aurelina Prado, Crystal Harris, Jason Garza, Tony Schroeder and Phillip Fontenot from Boeing and Christina Guerra, Johnny Guevara, Crystal Eakes, Dr. Bala, Dr. Romo & Dr. Mahan from Texas A&M University San Antonio for their support.
Corporate & Foundation Sponsors:
Alcoa, BASF, Chevron Phillips, ConocoPhillips, Emerson Process Management, Halliburton, IBM, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, National Instruments, Rackspace Hosting, Raytheon, Shell Oil Company, Sundt Foundation, Texas Instruments, Webber Family Foundation
Amarillo College, Angelo State University, Brazosport College, Lamar University, Midwestern State University, Prairie View A&M University, St. Philip’s College, Tarrant County College, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin
Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Thank you for helping TAME build a workforce that looks like Texas. Join these organizations in making a difference on our Get Involved page.