Media Advisory: High school students launch self-designed gliders at Washington University​

Annual Boeing Engineering Challenge begins at 4:30 p.m. in field house

Participants in the 2014 Boeing Challenge get ready for launch. (Credit: Sid Hastings/WUSTL Photos)

WHAT: Student-designed hand-launched gliders will soar across the Washington University Field House in the Boeing Engineering Challenge to determine which has the farthest flight, the straightest path, the longest hang time, and highest quality of flight. Planes with the most creative appearance and most creative engineering also are recognized. High school students create the planes out of balsa wood with consultation from engineers with The Boeing Company. In the process, they learn important concepts in physics and aerospace engineering.

WHO: Nearly 200 high school students and their physics teachers from 18 public and private schools. Schools participating are: Affton, Bayless, Cor Jesu Academy, DeSmet, Eureka, Francis Howell, Ft. Zumwalt, Gateway STEM, Hazelwood SE Middle School, Marquette, North County Technical, Pattonville, Timberland, Trinity Catholic, Summit and Vianney in Missouri. Alton Marquette Catholic and Triad High School in Illinois also are participating.

Washington University undergraduate Boeing Scholars and some 15 Boeing engineers who mentored the students also are participating.

WHERE: Washington University Field House, Athletic Complex, Forsyth and Big Bend Blvds. Parking is available on the top level of Snow Way Garage, which is near Big Bend Blvd., and Forest Park Parkway. Take Forest Park Parkway and turn south onto Throop Drive, then turn right at the “T” intersection onto Snow Way and the garage is on the left. Once on the top level, park near the southwest side of the garage and follow the sidewalk to the Athletic Complex.

WHEN: 4:30-6 p.m. Friday, May 1, 2015

MORE: Besides learning career skills in aerospace engineering, each winning design will receive a medal. Boeing is a longtime supporter of K-12 education initiatives at Washington University, including teacher graduate programs through the university’s Institute for School Partnership. Boeing also contributes to the university’s annual fund, its scholarship programs and its building fund.

The students visited Boeing in November and received the specifications and materials for their hand-held gliders. Each team was assigned a Boeing engineer to serve as a mentor.

“Boeing has taken a very deliberate and intentional step forward to support the students in our region by offering hands-on learning experiences and mentoring in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Matt Daniels, manager, Boeing Education Relations. “We know these students represent our future, and we want to compliment their classroom learning with some real-world application.

“The Boeing Engineering Challenge is one of the many ways we engage with students to help them develop the 21st-century skills needed to succeed in academics and life, and to achieve what they dream,” Daniels said.

Boeing sponsors the competition with support from Washington University’s Alumni & Development Office, the Institute for School Partnership and the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

ON-SITE CONTACT: Kimberly Weaver, engineering education specialist at the Institute for School Partnership, at 314-935-8138; or Sarah Reed, communications specialist, Boeing Defense Space & Security, at 314-810-6274.