Demonstrating why engineering and technology are so important to ensuring clean water will be the objective of middle school students at the 19th Indiana Future City Regional Competition on Saturday at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Seventeen teams will face off to earn the chance to represent Indiana at the national finals later this winter.

This year’s theme is Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow. Earlier in the school year, teams from across the country were challenged to choose a threat to their city’s water and design a resilient system to maintain a reliable and clean supply. Participants engaged in the engineering design process—brainstorm ideas, design solutions, test, retest, and build.

The public is invited to view the results and discuss with the teams their city models between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. in the Walb Union Classic Ballroom, Room 126.

According to Carol Dostal, outreach director of the Purdue University Fort Wayne College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science, “We support the educators and mentors for their dedicated semester-long guidance of their teams. This project-based effort sparks student interest in STEM disciplines at a critical point in their education when they are considering their future careers.”

Leading initiatives that focus on the importance of STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, is a significant point of emphasis for Purdue Fort Wayne.

Regional participants in this weekend’s competition come from 10 schools and one STEM youth organization. Although most of the teams are from the Fort Wayne area, some are from as far away as Jasper.

Each year, Future City highlights a current city problem for teams to explore as they design a virtual 3D city map using SimCity™ software and build a tabletop scale model of their city constructed primarily from recycled materials. The project also includes a research essay describing their city’s solution to this year’s challenge.

The annual National Future City Competition, a program of DiscoverE, has received national attention and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle school students nationwide to develop their interest in STEM. Future City participants discover how engineering is both accessible and can make a difference in the world.

The Indiana Regional begins with the preliminary round of competition in the morning. Teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges. Over 40 local professionals will evaluate the cities and designs to determine the award winners and the five teams who will advance to the afternoon finals sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power.

Among the five finalist judges who will determine the Indiana Regional Winner are Sherese Fortriede, a senior planner for the City of Fort Wayne, and Mark Gensic, manager of facilities engineering for the City of Fort Wayne. The winning team will represent Indiana at the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C., in February during Engineers Week. The trip is paid for by National Future City and supplemented by funding from Indiana Michigan Power.

Indiana Special Awards are offered by 14 organizations who will recognize excellence in city features associated with their organizations. Each attending school also receives an Education Participation cash award sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power.

The Waynedale News Staff
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