ASME UP Wins Fifth Straight Regional Title

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), University Park chapter, won the Penn State Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for the fifth year in a row on Saturday afternoon at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

In addition to winning a trophy and cash prize, ASME University Park earned the chance to represent Penn State at the national competition on March 30 in Columbus, Ohio.

Teams representing four other Penn State student organizations also competed in the contest: ASME, Harrisburg chapter; the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association (CUSA); the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the Engineering Leadership Society (ELS).

All teams were challenged to use innovative ideas, unconventional problem-solving skills and a little humor to design and build a machine that hammered a nail in 20 or more steps.

ASME UP Wins 5th straight regional title

ASME UP Wins 5th straight regional title

All teams were challenged to use innovative ideas, unconventional problem-solving skills and a little humor to design and build a machine that hammered a nail in 20 or more steps.

ASME Harrisburg placed second in the overall contest, followed by ELS in third place. The People’s Choice Award went to ASME Harrisburg’s machine, which featured favorite toys from childhood including old video gaming systems, a bowling ball and guitars.

Teams were judged on two runs of their machine and had the option of voiding one of their first two runs in favor of a third, provided the void was called before the task was completed.

All five teams used the time between rounds to make adjustments or repairs to their machines.

ASME Harrisburg wins the People's Choice Award

ASME Harrisburg wins the People’s Choice Award

            Between the rounds, four Engineering Ambassadors, an engineering student organization focused on community outreach, gave presentations about simple machines and the magic of engineering while the competitors reset their machines for the next round. Kids were invited up to the stage to view one of the presentations, which combined a speaker and Non-Newtonian Fluid, also known as Oobleck.

Engineering Ambassadors entertain the audience during intermissions.

Engineering Ambassadors entertain the audience during intermissions.


All five teams used the intermissions to make adjustments or repairs to their machines.

IEEE ran into slight difficulties during their first run. “It could’ve gone better, everything was working before we left,” said Michael Rybar, an electrical engineering senior. “We were glad the audience was rooting for us despite everything and were really into it.”

Throughout the months leading up to the event, teams put countless amounts of hours into building their machines.

CUSA team captain, Xiaomo Zhang, a junior in aerospace engineering, says that him and his team dedicated more than 100 hours to the entire process. “This is a really meaningful activity and it is good to interact with the community, gain leadership experience and create machine designs,” he explained.

ELS team captain, Yolainne Moran, who agreed, adding that she really enjoyed the entire process of the contest and bringing in new ideas from the freshman members of the organization. ELS featured a machine with the “Luck of the Irish” theme.

A young audience member gets the chance to see the ELS machine up close

A young audience member gets the chance to see the ELS machine up close

ASME University Park came up with their idea for their machine after throwing around several ideas between team members said team captain Alec Tanida, a senior in mechanical engineering. “We knew that an Avengers theme would be good because it is relevant and would get the attention of kids with Captain America and the Hulk,” he recalled.

­­­­­­Tanida competed in the 2011 and 2012 national competitions as a member of the 2011 and 2012 ASME University Park teams and said that it really helped him and some of his teammates prepare for the regional competition and calm under pressure.

ELS, third place, 2013 Penn State Rube Goldberg Regional Contest

ELS, third place, 2013 Penn State Rube Goldberg Regional Contest

The entire team will head to the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in Columbus, OH at the end of March. ASME placed second and third at the 2011 and 2012 national competition, respectively.

ASME Harrisburg Second place, 2013 Penn State Rube Goldberg Regional Contest

ASME Harrisburg Second place, 2013 Penn State Rube Goldberg Regional Contest

The contest is named after Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Reuben Lucius Goldberg, who drew cartoons that combined simple machine parts and household items to create contraptions that accomplished simple tasks in a laughable number of excess steps. Although he never built any of his machines, Goldberg’s creative thought process and innovation have become an inspiration to engineers and scientists all over the world.

More information about the event is available at:


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Shane Haydt: Engineering, Blue Band and Rollercoasters

Shane Haydt grew up in a family of Penn Staters, but kept it at the bottom of his list when he started his college search. Determined to find a school that fit him best, Haydt narrowed the list down to just two schools, Penn State being one of them. After a visit to Penn State and attending a white-out football game, he quickly changed his mind and Penn State was the only school he applied to. Originally from Lehighton, Pa. Haydt is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and truly making the best of his Penn State experience.

As a freshman, Haydt founded the Theme Park Engineering Group with Chris Noveral, who is a clarinet in the Penn State Blue Band along with Haydt. The group does tours of amusement parks, tours of roller coaster design companies, original design projects and trips to conferences.

Within engineering, Haydt is an Engineering Ambassador (EA) and really enjoys the middle and high school visits that he gets to do with the organization. He says his motivation for wanting to be involved is to ensure that what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else. Haydt was always told he should be an engineer because he was good at math and science, but his school didn’t really help him learn about what engineering really is.

“Engineering is so much more than that,” says Haydt. “EA seeks to break those stereotypes and show that engineers solve problems with creativity, ingenuity, and effective communication along with hard sciences.”

One of his most rewarding EA moments was following a lesson that him and his group did at a middle school. At the completion of the activity, he heard a member of the class they were teaching claim that she’s “definitely going to Penn State to become an engineer.”

Haydt’s involvement in extra-curricular activities doesn’t stop there. On every game day in Beaver Stadium, Haydt is the lead clarinetist taking the entire band onto the field to set up the band’s traditional pregame performance. Haydt has been one of the leaders of his section for the past two years. He chose to get involved in the band because he’s been going to games with his dad since he was a kid.

“When I was really little, I dreamed of being the Lion, but then once I started playing clarinet in fifth grade, my attention turned to the Blue Band,” says Haydt. “My favorite part of football games (even more than Penn State winning!) is when the Blue Band marches out of the tunnel for pregame, I always thought it would be cool to be the first person out and now I actually have that spot.”

Haydt says the Blue Band rehearses four times a week for about 3 hours a day during the football season in addition to the entire game day experience and other performance requirements held throughout the season. He is an active member in the Blue Band’s THON organization as the treasurer and is the treasurer for the American Society of Mechnical Engineers. Haydt is also a math tutor for Penn State Learning.

With a lot on his plate, one would wonder how he can do it all.

“I find that when I have more to do, I am way more productive,” says Haydt. “Having a structured schedule, when I know I need to get my work done at a given time, is really helpful for me in preventing procrastination.”

Haydt is also working on an honors thesis with research that he started during an internship last summer with Pratt & Whittney in Connecticut. He is researching ways to make the internal cooling of turbine blades in airplane engines more effective. Following graduation Haydt plans on going straight into graduate school and on to get his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. His dream is to become a professor one day and he says his super dream is to become a professor at Penn State.

“The best advice I can give to another student is to get involved.” says Haydt. “Penn State has more clubs and organization than I had kids in my high school, they have really enriched my college experience and also my resume.” He also says to take advantage of the numerous amounts of resources that Penn State offers. “That is one of the great things about going to a large school, no matter what you need help with, there is someone to help you,” says Haydt. “Make sure you hit the ground running your first semester.”

From not wanting to come to Penn State, to making it the only school on his list, Haydt is an ambassador for Penn State in countless ways and will one day educate the world’s finest.


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We’re out for blood

Four engineering student groups are doing their part for the annual Penn State vs. Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge.

Kunkle Lounge will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 2. Donors will receive a challenge T-shirt, pizza and coupon package from area businesses.

To schedule an appointment, donors can go to

The event is sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, Society of Women Engineers and Engineering Graduate Student Council.


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