Durham Tech ‘Dream Team’ places third in engineering competition

L to R: Adel Fahmy, Stephen Tremont, Morgan Prince, Connor Simpson

The Durham Technical Community College ‘Dream Team’ took home third place in the Rube Goldberg Engineering Competition on November 18 hosted by Wake Technical Community College, the team’s best finish ever at the competition, where more than 80 teams competed.

Similar to the popular game ‘Mouse Trap,’ a Rube Goldberg machine is a complex contraption in which a series of devices perform simple tasks linked together to produce a domino effect.

“This competition is a great opportunity for students to learn how to design and implement an engineering project as a group and see how their skills match up against students from other schools,” said Chris Mansfield, Director of the Associate in Engineering Program at Durham Tech.

The team consisted of three Durham Tech students: Stephen Tremont, Morgan Price and Connor Simpson. They worked together throughout the fall semester to create their Rube Goldberg machine, which included low-cost materials, such as scrap pieces of wood to build their inclined planes, and a small battery-operated motor to pull a string on a gear system. The team also designed and built their own set of wooden gears, allowing them to control the timing on their machine, and leading them to score maximum points on the timing score for the project.

“The Dream Team was the best at working cohesively together and at applying what they’ve learned in class to their projects,” Mansfield said. “They complemented each other’s skills and talents, divided the work up between them, and paid close attention to the requirements of the project. Their presentation at the competition was solid, and they were able to capture the highest scores among the Durham Tech teams, thus putting them into the final round of the competition.”

Adjunct instructor, Adel Fahmy, helped the students prepare for the project and served as their faculty sponsor on competition day.

“The engineering competition instills a sense of accomplishment and validates what students have learned in class,” Mansfield said. “In addition to technical skills involved in designing and building a project, students put into practice other essential real-world skills such as teamwork and collaboration, time-management, and presentation skills.”

Durham Tech students have participated in this event every semester since 2013.