Cardboard boat racing, slime-making, and the Pumpkin Chunkin – a competition in which students design a catapult to see who can launch a pumpkin the furthest – are all projects that have been undertaken by Elon Engineers, a small group of students with a passion for engineering.
The organization is pioneering projects and working alongside faculty to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs at Elon.
The club typically meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. to discuss upcoming engineering events and work on projects.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the club to alter their meetings and projects in order to follow guidelines restricting the size of in-person gatherings.
“It is harder to do in-person group stuff. We are kind of at a standstill as of right now until we can figure if we’ll be able to safely do projects,” said Reed Stasko, a junior and the club’s treasurer.
The pandemic has placed limitations on the club, but they were still able to start the mentoring program, which gives underclassmen and new students a way into the engineering program.
The mentor/mentee program matches upperclassmen with first-year students who are thinking of switching into the engineering program. The mentorship organization allows students to seek advice and create connections within the engineering department.
“It is mostly just to ask questions about what classes to take or somebody to rant to,” said junior and club president Julia Perline.
Perline and other executive members are mentors and are grateful for the faculty, who have been advocating for the program.
“We have a lot of support from the faculty on this program. We are hoping through collaborating with the faculty and Elon Engineers that we can keep this thing going for years to come,” said junior and club vice president Henry Chance.
The club continues to work on engineering projects. Currently, they have multiple initiatives and are planning more for the future. Chance said he thinks completing a couple of projects every year is important.
“We can have something to show for at the end of the year to be like, ‘hey, our club worked on this project. We were able to do this.’” Chance said.
One club initiative is a long-term project to create a dynamic sign with interactive letters spelling out Elon that would be put into the new engineering building next to the McMichael Science Building.
The club also works to prepare students for their professional careers. Last week, they hosted events with John Ring — the director of engineering outreach at Elon — and Laurie Judge and Robin Kazmarek from the Student Professional Development Center to discuss resume building and internships opportunities.
Stasko has also been able to do research with assistant professor of engineering and Elon Engineers adviser, Richard Blackmon.
Stasko is especially looking forward to the new Innovation Quad being built on campus as part of the Boldy Elon plan for 2030. According to the plan, the new quad will be a center for STEM advancement housing, labs, classrooms, research facilities and workspaces.
Elon Engineers’ executive committee is all part of the original dual-degree program where students can complete the first three years with a STEM-related major then transfer to an engineering school for an additional two years and earn degrees from both institutions. The new four-year plan allows students to spend four years at Elon studying a STEM field and graduate with a bachelor of science degree.
“The four-year program has existed for three years. A part of me is a tiny bit jealous that all of these things are happening that I couldn’t have been a part of, and another part of me is like ‘I’m part of it. I’m a part of the movement,’” Perline said.