Southeastern, Hammond High students partner to win engineering competition

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: May 10, 2012


     HAMMOND – A team of three Southeastern Louisiana University industrial technology students mentored a group of Hammond High Magnet School students to win Shell Oil Company's second annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Showdown held recently at the University of New Orleans.

     The competition involved teams working together to address a specific problem that required an engineering solution.

     The winning group – one of two teams of Southeastern and Hammond High students – won the competition by using a collection of miscellaneous items they were given to construct a product for the year 3050. With a variety of options, the team used the items to design an oil and water separator that could serve as a filtration system in the event of an oil spill.

     In another challenge, the students constructed a magnetic launcher and competed to see which device could propel a vehicle the furthest distance using the same amount of force.

     It was the first year Southeastern participated in the competition, which included students from UNO, Tulane, Loyola and Southern University. The university students were paired with a team of students from their area high schools.

     "Our students did an excellent job mentoring the Hammond High students," said Roy Bonnette, interim head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology. "Our industrial and engineering technology programs at Southeastern are applied, which makes them more hands-on than traditional engineering programs that are more theory-oriented. Our students are accustomed to working in teams where they have to design, layout and build projects from scratch. So they were pretty comfortable in the competition."

     The first place team members from Hammond High each received PC tablets, while the Southeastern student team captains each received $1,000 scholarships to be awarded at a national conference this summer in Orlando, Fla., with registration and other expenses fully paid. Participating students from Southeastern were Matt Fontenette, Lacombe; Bishwas Gautam, Hammond; Justin Sanders, Franklinton; Richard Sahuque, Metairie; Brian Whittaker, Mandeville; and Justin Womack, Zachary. Hammond High students included Jacob Cobb, Torian Conerly, Tyler Davis, Ashlyn Dykes, Brittany Dykes, Justin Eleser, April Gaydos, Dylan Hutchinson, Drew LaBorde, Lazereo Nimox, Abelardo Pineda, Chase Richardson, Tyler Roddy and Alex Thompson.

     The Shell STEM Showdown is part of an initiative by Shell and Viva Technology designed to increase the number of students interested in pursuing science degree programs.

     The Southeastern Foundation over the years has forged a partnership with Shell Oil in efforts intended to engage students in activities focused on technology, explained Southeastern Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Lynn Horgan.

     "Our relationship with Shell gave us the opportunity to participate in the STEM competition," Horgan said. "We're proud that one of our teams was able to capture the first prize against institutions that have strong engineering programs."

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