FAMU-FSU College of Engineering all-freshmen team won third place at the Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE) Design Challenge in Washington, D.C., competing against other HBCU teams composed of upperclassmen who are farther along in their studies.
The competition took place at the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Conference. This year’s “Design Challenge” was to “design an innovative system to transform the quality of life of people through transportation, healthcare or public safety.”
FAMU team faculty adviser and Director of Student Access for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Charmane Caldwell, Ph.D., said, “This was a great opportunity for engineering students at various HBCUs to compete on a national level. For our students at FAMU, the competition gave them the opportunity to see that they had a seat at the table. As the faculty adviser for the only all freshmen team, I had to reassure my students that they were just as capable as any other team in the room. I was excited that they were finally able to see what I have always told them. That working a little bit harder than the average person can lead to exponential results.”
The FAMU Engineering Concepts Institute and the Engineering Living and Learning Community student support programs help to develop these young students to compete on a national level. The objective of the Design Challenge is to:
- Engage students in industry challenges and processes through collaboration with corporate business, government agencies and technical leaders.
- Introduce students to new and emerging technologies and how they are used to solve real life problems and
- Provide the opportunity for innovative, out of the box thinking, skills development and solution presentations.
The Design Challenge was sponsored by Abbott, Boston Scientific, Boeing, Corning, Dell, IBM, Lockheed Martin, MITRE, NetApp, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and the National Security Agency.
A total of 11 teams competed in the Design Challenge to showcase their creativity, innovation and technical competence. Teams were from Alabama A&M University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Morgan State University, NC A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University, Tuskegee University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of District of Columbia and Virginia State University.
Each team was judged on desirability, feasibility, viability and presentation. Hampton University won first place for its presentation on public safety. The University of the District of Columbian placed second for health care and FAMU finished third, also for a health care presentation.
Team member Kamryn Woods, a freshman Chemical Engineering major from Orlando, was delighted with the result.
“We worked tirelessly for a month straight, and to see it pay off was awesome,” Woods said. “We, a group of eight freshmen, placed over groups of upperclassmen and that is honestly one of the greatest feelings.”