For all the challenges facing the world today, there are even greater challenges just over the horizon. Booz Allen is helping to address these future challenges now by preparing students to enter the critical disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Booz Allen served as a platinum-level sponsor and provided volunteers for this year’s Alabama Regional Future City Competition, in which students envisioned and designed an ideal city 150 years in the future, built a model of the city and presented their ideas to judges.
The regional competition was held on January 19 at University of Alabama-Huntsville's Shelby Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Future City National Finals are being held at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, VA coinciding with 2013 National Engineers Week. More than 35,000 students from 1,300 middle schools nationwide have participated in the competition.
Each of the 17 teams of North & Central Alabama middle school students (6th, 7th and 8th grades) worked with an educator and engineer mentor to design a future city that addresses issues like energy demand, pollution, crime, safety, traffic, unemployment, budgeting, utilities, and more. Each team then built a physical model with recycled materials and a budget of $100, researched and wrote an essay solving an engineering problem, wrote a narrative describing their city, and presented their ideas before a panel of judges. This year’s essay topic is “Rethink Runoff: Design clean solutions to manage stormwater pollution.”
“Booz Allen shares Future City’s commitment to engineering excellence and applying the STEM disciplines to real-world issues,” said Bruce Morris, a senior associate in Booz Allen’s Huntsville office who provided remarks during the awards ceremony. “Energizing and maintaining the next generation of engineers is paramount to the future and prosperity of Huntsville, our nation, and the world. And programs like Future City truly ensure that we keep bringing smart young people into these fields.”
The Future City competition is very effective in introducing students to the STEM disciplines. In a 2011-2012 season study conducted by the Concord Evaluation Group, 80 percent of students reported that Future City helped them see that math and science are important to their future, 57 percent said Future City helped them see themselves as engineers someday, and 58 percent said Future City made them want to keep doing other engineering clubs or activities. Future City also helps bring girls into the STEM disciplines; last year 46 percent of participants were girls.
• More information on the Future City competition can be found at www.futurecity.org• More information on National Engineers Week Foundation can be found at www.eweek.org