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Students design vehicle to traverse land, water

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Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 7:01 am | Updated: 7:15 am, Sat Feb 25, 2012.

Zachary Anderson watched as an amphibious vehicle he designed Friday traveled more than halfway through its designated course at LeTourneau University.

Anderson, who hails from Rhome, was one of about 70 high school students from across the country to attend LeTourneau University’s annual engineering preview in which attendees were challenged to design an amphibious vehicle — one that could traverse land and water.

“This project was really cool,” Anderson said.

Matthew Green, associate professor of mechanical engineering, said the preview weekend gives students a chance to think about whether engineering is the right career path and whether LeTourneau is the right university for them.

“They are coming upon one of the most important decisions in their life — where to go to college and what to do,” Green said. “This gives them hands-on experience. It helps them determine if engineering is what they want to do.”

Armed with a hot glue gun, utility knife, scissors and ruler, students took a small, battery-operated vehicle and used Styrofoam, tongue depressors, Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and a quart-sized Ziploc bag to make the vehicle capable of traveling by land and by water.

The 12-foot-long course consisted of the vehicle starting in water, then navigating up a 15-degree ramp, down a 90-degree drop off, and through more water. Winners were based on total distance traveled in the shortest amount of time.

Anderson, who is interested in pursuing an engineering degree, said he had not heard of LeTourneau until recently.

“No. 1, it’s a Christian school,” he said. “And, No. 2, it just seemed really interesting to me and I wanted to check it out.”

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