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Student organizations host second annual Makers Challenge

A photo of Eric Socks who finished second in the Launch-a-Ball contest.

 Eric Socks finished second in the Launch-A-Ball contest 


Nearly 40 teams put their creative and artistic abilities to the test in West Virginia University’s Second Annual Maker’s Challenge.

The 3D printing competition, sponsored by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and student chapters of Materials Advantage and Materials Research Society, challenged students to print designs that would be judged in one of three categories: artistic, future tech and a new mechanized option, launch-a-ball.

“The main goal of the Maker’s Challenge is to raise awareness of 3D printing and ‘maker’s culture,’” said Ozcan Ozmen, president of Materials Advantage. “Turning designs into a physical object was never practical before. Now that online design tools are freely available more students are interested in participating so we were excited to again bring this challenge to WVU.”

Students were provided with access to several 3D printers to create their unique designs and to encourage more participation in the competition.

Voting for the artistic and future tech category was open to students, faculty and staff, while the mechanized launch-a-ball category was judge by distance traveled. Prizes were awarded in the following categories:

Best Artistic Design: first place – Matthew Mealy, mechanical engineering; second place – Jacob Winokur and Mike Macioce, aerospace and civil engineering; third place – Amber Barr and Fredricah Gardner, mechanical engineering

Best Future Tech Design: first place – Hayden Nichols and Emily Upton, mechanical engineering; second place – Samuel McCraith and Kenneth Pack, industrial engineering; third place – Pragya Shekhawat and Wyatt Kitzmiller, mechanical engineering

Best Mechanized Launch-A-Ball Category: first place – Ashley Konya and Kaitie Stevens, petroleum and natural gas engineering and aerospace engineering; second place – Eric Socks and Amanda Cathreno, aerospace engineering

The Statler College Dean’s Office and Office of Outreach and Recruitment played a key role in advertising the competition and providing prizes for the winners. The student organizations hope to continue growing the event and adding new categories and challenges in the years to come.

“We were able to double the amount of entries we received during last year’s competition,” said Ozmen. “Our plan is to expand next year’s event to high school- and middle school-level students to encourage young students to pursue careers in engineering and to gain hands on experience with 3D printing.”



For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:


Phone contacts:
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Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
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