University of Maryland Extension

Maryland 4-Hers Win at National Youth Engineering Challenge

Maryland 4-Hers won first place in three events – Aerospace, Robotics and Small Engines. The Maryland 4-H Engineering Team recently returned from a successful trip to Lafayette, Indiana, for the 64th national engineering challenge, September 28 – 30, 2014. The nine member team participated in both individual and team events and collectively in the Engineering Bowl. They also attended educational workshops at Purdue University and an educational fieldtrip to Fair Oaks Dairy, a large modern operation, and Braun Corporation, manufacturer of wheelchair vans, wheelchair lifts and mobility products. Safety is a major component of the Engineering Challenge.

The Maryland team members are state senior first place winners of their particular event, including mechanical science events in Division V, 4-H Engineering Events, at the 2014 Maryland State Fair. These events include agricultural tractor operator safety, lawn tractor, arc welding, small engines, electric/energy, computer, robotics, aerospace and bicycle. The youth first compete in their county. Most counties offer these 4-H activities. More information can be found at the national website:

The Maryland Robotics Team of Bryce and Kaitlyn Davey and Jacob Newton (all of Carroll County) competed in both the Autonomous (robot pre-programmed for a task) and the Remote Controlled (robot driven by an operator in remote control) events and placed first in both. Mr. Andrew George Davey (Carroll County Volunteer) attended as robotics coach.

The Maryland Aerospace Team of Kevin Kai Huang and Patrick O’Hanlon, (both of Montgomery County) placed first in the Aerospace Event, building a rocket from miscellaneous supplies given them and successfully launching and recovering it. Dr. Richard Lempicki (Montgomery County Volunteer) served as Aerospace Coach on the trip. The aerospace participants visited aerospace related sites on campus where many astronauts have trained.

In individual competition events, Emmett Wolf (Carroll County) placed first in the Small Engines Event, Joshua Frick (Baltimore County) placed second in the Bicycle Safety Event, Thomas Wolf (Carroll County) placed third in Lawn Tractor Safety, and James Thomas (Baltimore County) placed third in the Agricultural Tractor Operator Safety Event.

The Maryland team placed fourth in the Engineering Bowl, losing by one question in each round they competed in. Scores were very close. Maryland did not have contestants in computer, electric/energy or welding this year.

Most of the contestants participated in a Mouse Trap Car Challenge to build a vehicle powered by two mouse traps; the best car from Indiana traveled over 40 feet.

Each event was comprised of several components, including a written exam, a presentation, parts identification test, a practical exam, and a demonstration of skills component (operation of a vehicle, computer programming, or welding).

Dr. David S. Ross, Professor Emeritus and Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired), Department of Environmental Science and Technology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, was the Maryland Group Coordinator and Chair of the National Bicycle Safety Event. Mr. Dwayne Murphy, Faculty Extension Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, Baltimore County, University of Maryland Extension, was Maryland Co-Coordinator and Chair of the National Welding Event.

Extension Agricultural Engineers and 4-H professionals and volunteers from participating states conducted the Event. Lincoln Electric, Landis + Gyr, Stuart C. Irby Company and John Deere, are national sponsors and the University of Maryland Extension; Maryland 4-H Foundation; Fair View Farm; Maryland Agricultural Fair Board and equipment dealers are local sponsors of this program.

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