Massachusetts Officially Kicks of the 2009 Real World Design Challenge
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and 15 other states will take part in the 2009 Real World Design Challenge, a competition intended to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — particularly in the aviation sector — in high school students.
Gov. Deval Patrick announced the Massachusett’s involvement in the competition at a press conference at the State House Wednesday. The state’s partners on the competition include the U.S. Department of Energy, the FAA, Parametric Technology Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Business Educational Partnerships Group Inc., Mentor Graphics Corp., the Education Development Center, MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Massachusetts NASA Space Grant Consortium at MIT.
This year, aviation industry engineers have defined a challenge currently being addressed in their industry, and teachers and students must use the challenge tools to devise solutions. The aerospace industry faces a shortage of engineers — between 60,000 and 68,000 aerospace engineers in the United States will retire by 2010, and only half of those will be replaced, according to Patrick’s office.
The program will provide Massachusetts teachers and students about $1 million in free access to advanced mechanical engineering and design software as part of the national design competition. The students will be coached by mentors from government laboratories, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, industry and higher education.
Seven Massachusetts high schools participated in 2008. Newburyport High School took first place in the state and second place in the national challenge competition last year.