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Technology education students win big at international conference

March 30, 2011 12:00AM

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Members of the Manufacturing Team work on their winning project at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Conference.

Some PSU students returned from spring break with tans, but a group of technology education majors came home with gold and silver.

A dozen members of the PSU Technology Education Collegiate Association (TECA) traveled to Minneapolis last week with Professors Mike Neden and Andy Klenke to compete at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) Conference. After competing with 17 other universities, the PSU Manufacturing Enterprise team was awarded first place and the Design and Problemsolving Team was awarded second place in their respective competitions.

Neden said the manufacturing competition required teams to design and fabricate complex jigs and fixtures in order to build 10 products within a 20-minute time frame. Limited to portable equipment that minimized their on-site capabilities, the team had to pre-cut their components and assemble them at the competition. Each team was also required to produce production flow charts, detailed drawings, portfolios and a video presentation. Pittsburg State's team took first over Fort Hays University in Fort Hays, Kan. (second place) and Technical College of New Jersey (third place) during the two-hour competition.

Members of the PSU Manufacturing Team include Dan Spielbusch of St. Paul, Dave Pfortmiller of Olathe, Luke Spainhoward of Uniontown, Joe Bower of Salina, Miles Riley of Olathe, and Caleb Galemore of Chanute.

The problemsolving competition required teams to design a device that would "kick" a ping pong ball exactly four feet by using a variety of gears, pulleys and linkages. They were required to build their device on-site with materials and tools provided by the TECA competition committee. The team scored just behind first-place winner St. Petersburg College of Florida and beat out third-place winner Brigham Young University.

Members of the PSU Problemsolving Team include Travis Wells of Altamont; Travis Olson of Nevada, Mo.; Jeff Slane of Chanute; and Cassie Howard of Garden Plain.

The PSU group took home a few extra honors, as well. With twice the number of TECA members this year, PSU received the award for Best Recruitment efforts in the country. Stephan Brumbaugh, a senior technology education major from Frontenac, also received the Outstanding TECA Student Award, which was presented at the ITEEA Awards Luncheon. Brumbaugh, a national officer in the TECA, was honored for his hard work and longtime commitment to the organization.

Klenke and Neden, who work closely with PSU TECA, were also recognized for their service with the ITEEA board of directors.

"These prestigious awards have positioned the Technology Education Program as one of the premier programs in the country," Neden said. "We're proud of our students for their outstanding efforts and time commitments to reach this level of competition and achievement."

The teams' projects, including pictures and video footage, will be on display at the Kansas Technology Center near the dean's office later this week.

©2011 Pittsburg State University