News Releases

March 06, 2009

Engineering and Design Student Winners Recognized at Statehouse

MONTPELIER – Five South Burlington High School students were recognized by Lt. Governor Brian Dubie for winning the first ever Vermont Real World Design Challenge today in the Cedar Creek Room of the Statehouse. The team will now travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the national event on March 20.

The Real World Design Challenge is a joint effort spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, software company PTC and other partners. Vermont was chosen to launch the competition nationally in July 2008. Nine more states then chose to take part in this first year of the challenge. The RWDC is designed to help foster real world challenges in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This initiative provides software and resources to participating schools and teams and encourages students to seek further education in these fields beyond high school.

The students’ task was to design an airplane wing that was fuel efficient on both take-off and landing. The PTC software is the same computer-assisted design (CAD) software used by professional engineers. It is provided at no charge to all students and teachers at all schools who participate in the challenge. Students are mentored by professional engineers from the U.S. Dept of Energy, the FAA, Cessna and other participating companies in Vermont and nationally.

The team, led by Coach Steve Barner at South Burlington High School, is currently working on the preliminary portion of their national entry and will do a presentation before a panel of aviation experts who will judge the overall entries.

The members of the team and their grade levels in South Burlington are:

Michael Gaffney, Senior; Thomas Piper, Sophomore; Amsal Karic, Senior;

Jonathon Girard, Freshman; Varun tej Gonuguntla, Senior

The Real World Design Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, in partnership with the State of Vermont, Parametric Technology Corporation, Cessna Aircraft Company, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

For more information on the Real World Design Challenge, please go to: Contact Peter Drescher at the Department of Education at (802) 828-5149 or

Source: Department of Education
Last Updated at: March 06, 2009 15:28:54