It’s Late On A Saturday Night. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

LRmodEWBdinner1-TEDSUN_72487Your kids (well, college students) have moved out and don’t answer your calls or texts. Unless they’re broke.

Ever wonder what they’re up to at night?

Well, if you were to sneak onto campus one (or most any) evening, you’d discover: Ignite Rolla; two hours of what looks like stand-up comedy, but it’s serious. The Council of Graduate Students hosted a Ted Talks-style evening devoted to ideas worth spreading. Among the dozen or so student speakers were members of two student design teams who presented on topics that inspire them. Brian Gifford, long a stalwart of the Solar House Design Team and four-year S&T basketball player, drew a strong analogy between childhood memories and the need to develop long-term sustainable housing in the U.S.

LRmodEWBdinner1-TEDSUN_74731Hanna Frye and Kelsey Crossen of iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) gave Ignite Rolla a redux of their technical presentation of how their DNA modification holds promise of reducing coal-fired power planet emissions into ammonia fertilizer.

Saturday night is for celebrating, EWB-style (Engineers Without Borders), with a rice and beans banquet. Sound tasty? It was, with authentic recipes from their customer communities in Central and South America. This event was a celebration of the life-saving clean water
BLOG2blprintprojects these students designed and built for remote villages in Guatemala, Bolivia and Honduras. More important, it was a way of saying “Thank you!” to the people that inspire these 20-somethings to tackle these enormous, real-life challenges, their advisors and key financial backers who help make these trips possible.

LAtheblogDSC_6504For a post-dinner stroll, drop in the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center and listen to the chaos. Loud music. Shouting. Hammer on steel. Humming lathes and mills. The sound of production, of work being done. Design teams are beginning to turn their designs into reality. Evaluation via non-destructive testing, which sometimes turns into destructive testing, whether they like it or not.

They’re learning the language of the machine shop. The metals and composites are “talking” to students, saying “are you really sure I’m the best choice of materials for this thing on which you are staking your engineering reputation?” A daunting thought…………..