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Future City Competition Hosted by UT Sparks Engineering Imagination

On January 21, middle-schoolers from across the state converged at UT to participate in the 25th Anniversary Future City Competition to address The Power of Public Space. The theme of this year’s competition challenges students to design innovative, multiuse public spaces that serve a city’s diverse population.

The competition brought together students who have been hard at work on their Future City projects since returning to school in the fall. The 36 participants comprised twelve teams who joined more than 40,000 others from 1,350 schools in 37 regions who are engaged in similar competitions.

Local engineering firm, LDA, sponsored the regional competition, which was judged by WBIR newscaster, Daniel Sechtin. “At LDA, we believe in building stronger, happier communities through the practice of civil and environmental engineering and a major part of that is developing future STEM professionals,” says Jason Brooks, PE President and CEO of LDA. “Future City is the ideal competition to introduce middle school students to the engineering process and help them understand the role of engineers in building their cities and communities. Our goal is to spark an interest and passion in the student for engineering and science.”

CEE Lecturer Jenny Retherford served as the UT coordinator for the event. She was surprised to see 50 more people attending than was expected. “Future City was designed as an after-school program, so I was pleased to see that so many whole families showed up to support the student involved in the competition,” she said. “It’s clear that this program is having an impact at the family level.”