Abby Omlor, a freshman at Lexington’s Henry Clay High School, is the kind of budding problem-solver that the University of Kentucky’s E-Day is designed to attract.
The 15-year-old, who is considering a career in engineering, used her design and construction skills to compete in the Popsicle stick bridge contest during the UK College of Engineering’s Engineers Day Open House on February 21, held to coincide with National Engineers Week.
More than 1,000 people from around Kentucky came to see the many contests, exhibits, laboratory experiments and demonstrations that help youngsters and the public learn how engineers go about their work. The popular annual event, now 60 years old, also included 34 corporate and organization exhibitors as well as 25 exhibits by UK engineering student organizations.
Omlor finished first in the Popsicle bridge contest. Alas, all of the Popsicle bridge entries were ultimately destroyed, but that was the point. Judges had to put each one to the test to determine how much weight it could bear, according to one of the judges, Nate Waters, a UK senior in mining engineering from Whitley City. The winning bridge was determined by its efficiency – or the ratio of the load it can support to its own weight.
Omlor took her handiwork’s fate philosophically.
“I like to build stuff and work with my hands,” she said. “It took two weeks to make. We had to glue stuff and wait overnight for it to dry as we made the bridge.”
Omlor is also on a high school robotics team this year, another sign that she could be headed toward engineering. She is also thinking about becoming a veterinarian or meteorologist.
Winners of the drawing for the Nikon Coolpix digital cameras were: Bethani Pate, Bardstown; David Hagar, Mt. Washington; and Joanie Mudd, Bardstown.