Slam Dunk at Alumni Cup | A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland

Slam Dunk at Alumni Cup

A week’s worth of brainstorming, collaboration, and creative ingenuity put to the test within a 90-second timeframe: that’s the thrill of the annual Alumni Cup competition, hosted by the Clark School’s Engineering Alumni Network each February to celebrate National Engineers Week.

On February 21, screams filled the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building atrium from spectators and teams in the Rube Goldberg-inspired competition, which this year saw all eight departments devise highly complex machines designed to dunk a mini basketball.

Popping balloons, plates of fire, rolling marbles, falling dominoes, whirling fans, spinning robots, and falling computer heatsinks were just a few of the required 20 energy transfers that teams employed in their contraptions.

After each team put its machine through its paces for two rounds of competition, students from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering were victorious with a "Space Jam"-themed setup. Mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering students took second and third place, respectively.

So what about next year? While the theme and parameters will remain secret until a week prior to the 2021 competition, Shannon Donaldson—co-captain of the 2020 winning materials science team—advises that future competitors “don’t discount aesthetics, and make sure to put effort into their reports.” And while every team hopes for the win in 2021, materials science has their eye on a winning streak.

Read more at Maryland Today.

Published March 25, 2020