Taking flight

Annual Boeing Design Challenge fun way for high school students to consider STEM careers

article photo Alex Kueser (above, left), Jacob Massmann and Tommy Kueser, all of Eureka High School in southwest St. Louis County, prepare their plane for launch during the Boeing Design Challenge at the Washington University Field House April 29. They were among 110 area high school students from six school districts on 26 teams who designed and hand-launched balsa wood gliders in different competitions, learning concepts of physics and engineering. The teams, assisted by engineers from Boeing Co., competed to determine which glider had the farthest flight, straightest path, longest hang time or highest quality of flight. Gliders with the most creative appearance and most creative engineering also were recognized. The event was the culmination of a six-month-long project that began in November, when the students visited Boeing to receive instructions from a Boeing mentor along with materials for their hand-held gliders. The project is designed to get students thinking about other opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields Boeing sponsored the design competition, with support from Washington University in St. Louis’ Alumni & Development Office; the Institute for School Partnership (ISP); and the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Boeing is a longtime supporter of K-12 education initiatives at WUSTL, including teacher graduate programs through the ISP. Credit: Jerry Naunheim Jr./WUSTL Photos (2)article photo