Battleball Tournament? Why, Yes!

I was reminded of a few things today…

One, duct tape really can fix almost anything!

Two, Chivalry isn’t dead.

Three, Careers have no gender. 

I was in Cedar City visiting with Engineering students at Southern Utah University. The students have been creating hydraulic robots and it was time for the Battle Ball Tournament. Student groups were paired up by Instructor, Nathan Johnson, a timer was set, ping pong balls with metallic tacks were dropped into a center pit, and the robots were off. The team who could get the most balls out of the pit won and moved to the next bracket to compete again.

Not knowing much about engineering myself, I was impressed just watching how these machines worked. They were made from cardboard and syringes were used to move the arms from side to side and up and down. There were some fixes that needed to be made in between battles and students were rushing around gathering tools and materials to get their robots working. Duct tape was readily available. Some of those good old tools from my youth are still the best for fixing things, even in this advanced world of technology.

I always enjoy a competition. There was a Tie between two of the teams and they had to replay the battle.  After two more ties, the match was decided by a coin toss. This team went on to battle the other top team, both undefeated. After a little smack talk between the two teams, the battle began. A short two minutes later, the winner emerged. It was great to see the celebration of both teams, both sides being courteous and friendly and genuinely having a great time learning together.

I Was Also Impressed At The Number Of Females In This Class. Most Of These Students Will Be Moving On To Learn More About Engineering And Secure A Career Within This Field. Most Students Had No Previous Engineering Coursework But There Were Others Who Had Taken Advantage Of Career Pathways In High School. One Of The Female Students I Talked To, Age 26 Was Just Starting Her Engineering Degree. Another Student Told Me She Had Taken Some Engineering Courses In High School Leading Her On A Path To An Engineering Degree. Watch Out Boys!

Career and Technical Education can help students get on a pathway to a career and help them earn their degree faster and with less cost. Students in Southern Utah have the opportunity to take college courses while still in high school. SUU offers concurrent enrollment for classes like CAD Mechanical Design, 3-D Design and Engineering. By taking these courses in high school students can move faster towards an Associates degree in Pre-Engineering, and then onto a Bachelors degree in Engineering or Mechanical Engineering among many other engineering programs offered at SUU.

If you are interested in jumping on a career path while still in high school, check out the Utah CTE website. And if you are interested in the Engineering program at SUU, check out their site to learn more. Thanks SUU for allowing me, a former Thunderbird, to visit and learn more about options for students in Southern Utah! Go T-Birds!

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