San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 20th, 2012
Future City regional finals slated Saturday in San Marcos

2011 National Finals winners in the City Narrative category. The students represent Our Lady Help of Christians, which is a private, coed, Roman Catholic school in Philadelphia. PHOTO via FUTURECITY.ORG


A team of students from Westlake Middle School won last week’s Future City Competition.

The winning students, Nicholas Truong, Benjamin Jared Gorr, Akshay Prakash, Issac Frost, teamed up with their teacher, Carol Reese and their volunteer engineer mentor Tai Troung.


The Central Texas regional finals of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition will be held in San Marcos on Saturday.

The competing teams, composed of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, have created future cities in large tabletop models. The students will present and defend their cities to judges at the competition.

This year’s theme of the competition is “Fuel Your Future: Imagine New Ways to Meet Our Energy Needs and Maintain a Healthy Planet.”

The competition will be held at Texas State University’s Roy E. Mitte Building, located at 749 N. Comanche Street. Judging will be from 9-11 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m., and the winning team will be announced at approximately 3:30 p.m.

The competition is intended to foster skills related to research, teamwork, cooperation, problem-solving, presentation, practical math and science, and computer technology.

The winning team will represent Central Texas against 36 other regions at the national finals, which will be Feb. 18-22 in Crystal City, VA. The National Finals Grand Prize winners will receive a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, provided by National Finals host Bentley Systems, Incorporated. Major funding for the national finals comes from Bentley Systems, Incorporated and Shell.

Central Texas is one of nearly 40 regions participating in this year’s competition. The competition began with the new school year in the fall. Participating students started with a research essay describing their concept. As they envisioned new ways to produce electric power, students identified the benefits and risks of their energy source solutions and suggested ways to minimize risks posed by their solutions.

Students used SimCity 4 Deluxe software to design a virtual future city model that incorporated their ideas. They then built a physical model using recycled materials costing no more than $100 to build.

As students employed their alternative energy solutions, they must have considered the safety, cost, efficiency, and the appearance of their ideas. They also learned about the engineering disciplines that encompass their solution, including learning and identifying the steps of the design process.

“What a great opportunity this year’s competition affords middle schoolers eager to explore their potential,” said Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, a long-time sponsor of the Future City Competition. “Meeting the challenge they’re being tasked with will help them appreciate the in-depth research, analysis, innovative thinking, and team collaboration employed by engineering professionals as they go about the crucial job of sustaining the world’s infrastructure. At the same time, these young people will get to enjoy the incredibly rewarding experience of creating something whose ultimate purpose is improving quality of life for all of us.”

The Future City Competition, which involves 33,000 students and 1,000 schools, is a program of the National Engineers Week Foundation. The foundation is a coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies whose goal is to ensure a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce. It attempts to do this by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science and by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers among young students. Founded in 1951, the foundation is among the oldest of America’s professional outreach efforts. Co-chairs for 2012 are Battelle and ASME. For more information, visit

“As an energy company, we are very excited that the Future City 2011-2012 competition addresses such a real world issue,” said Debra Stewart, director of Shell Oil Company’s Supplier Diversity, Workforce Development and Diversity Outreach division. “This project will give students an opportunity to gain a further understanding of the importance of energy, the environmental impact and the skills it will take to find viable solutions. For our industry and the U.S. economy as a whole, it is critical that we continually encourage and stimulate interest in STEM from grade school through college to develop the “STEM-savvy” workforce of the future. Not only is this vital for our country’s leadership position in an increasingly competitive world, but also, with a keen understanding and possibly a career in these disciplines, individuals will have the opportunity to help shape the future of our country and global community.”

The 2011 National Finals winning model in the City Narrative category. The model was created by the team representing Our Lady Help of Christians. PHOTO via FUTURECITY.ORG

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One thought on “Future City regional finals slated Saturday in San Marcos

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