The first floor of Packard Lab buzzes with excitement as students from Broughal Middle School fill the auditorium, ready for a day of hands-on engineering projects. After a brief welcome, the students divide into teams, ready to take on their first challenge: constructing boats using tinfoil.
The goal? Balance as many pennies in the boat as possible without sinking it.
Organized by the Rossin Junior Fellows, an upperclassmen honors society in the school of Engineering, the annual event with Broughal is geared towards exposing middle schoolers to an engineering mindset.
"When studying math and science at school," says Austin Keller '16, "kids often don't see their real-world applications. So we’re here to try and help with that."
The event allows students to not only explore engineering, but also to engage with each other on a creative level. As the day goes on, the students take on project after project, challenging themselves to construct a truss bridge using uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows. Words of encouragement are heard throughout the auditorium, creating a positive and collaborative atmosphere.
Coming to Lehigh, even if only for a few hours, is what allows many Broughal students to explore something they perhaps wouldn’t have the financial opportunity to otherwise.
"It's really about giving them the chance to discover something new about themselves, to find that spark,” explains Lori Cirucci, Broughal’s 8th grade science instructor.
-Simona Galant '18 is a writer with the Dean’s Office of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.