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STEM Competition Inspires Students to Solve Real World Problems

STEM Competition Inspires Students to Solve Real World Problems

The Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge was developed 19 years ago to encourage fifth-eighth grade students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to solve real world problems. By participating in the competition, participants have cultivated critical thinking skills, honed their technical abilities, learned the value of collaboration and teamwork and had the chance to meet engineers who solve similar problems in the field every day.

Sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative, this is the largest extracurricular STEM event in the state of Arizona. This year we were proud to host 226 teams comprised of 981 students. The participants represented 16 different Arizona cities and some traveled hours to be part of the innovative educational experience.

For several months, these students have used their time both in and out of class to develop an International Logistics Mission to colonize Phobos, a moon of Mars. Each team was tasked with creating a scale model, writing a report and providing an oral presentation to Challenge judges. Throughout the planning process, students determined all aspects of life on their base including how many scientists could live comfortably, how they would eat, breathe, exercise, deal with waste, develop a government and establish a social structure.

The submissions we received this year were beyond impressive. They demonstrated that these STEM students are passionate about solving the problems of our world – both now and in the future.

One of the things that makes this competition so beneficial to the students is the opportunity to present their creations to a diverse group of Honeywell employees, most of whom are engineers. This year there were 126 judges from sites across the Valley of the Sun, including 54 who were first-time judges.

Keith Hughes, a retired Honeywell engineer who worked in Aerospace for more than 49 years, 34 of which were with Honeywell, was responsible for planning and overseeing the program. He has been involved in the Challenge for 18 years.

“Being part of the Challenge is inspiring,” said Hughes. “I enjoy working with the kids and watching their brains turn. I like asking them questions about their submittals and getting them to expand their minds. Coordinating the Challenge keeps me young and I look forward to it year after year.”

When Hughes started volunteering with the Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge, the landscape was significantly different. In the beginning, fewer than 10 percent of the participants were female. This year, 55 percent of the students in the competition were female.

Hughes also added that the Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge is comparable to a working model of industry. “The skills needed to be successful in this competition mirror the real world and prepare participants for their occupation of choice. Teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving are needed for any career path these students explore.”

Year after year our volunteers report a level of excitement about participating in this event. They are proud of the work they do and they love to share their passion with students who are interested in STEM.

Six teams of finalists from the three-day competition will get the opportunity to present their project on Feb. 10. Winners of the competition get an all-expenses paid trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., to attend Space Camp this summer.

Aerospace Marketing
We inspire innovation. We are passionate and fearless inside and outside of work. We join forces and celebrate our global team. Now you can learn a little bit more about the amazing people that make up our culture at Honeywell Aerospace.


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