Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Engineering Students Win Sac State CREATE Competition

Caroline Niello, Jill Gundlach, Sahil Olomi, Sofia Magee, Andrea (Annie) Laing and Zoey Younger at the engineering workshop.

A team of engineering students from Rio Americano High School won top awards at the CREATE competition at Sacramento State Dec. 11 with designs for a refugee support center.

The team members–all part of Matt Coles’s Engineering 1 class where they worked on their design as a semester project–are freshmen Sofia Magee, Jill Gundlach and  Zoey Younger; sophomores Andrea (Annie) Laing and Caroline Niello; and junior Sahil Olomi. 

In the competition, sponsored by the Construction Industry Education Foundation (CIEF), the team beat out 13 competitors to claim the overall title and also won the timed Curveball competition in which they had to alter their design by moving a building to account for an archeological discovery on the site. They also won honors for best physical model.

As their submission for CREATE, the team designed a model refugee center. Keeping in mind utility and design, the center was drafted based on what incoming refugees would need the most. 

“The plan for our site is to have one main building with tutoring, language help, childcare, and a bunch of things to help them adapt to the US,” Magee said. “And then we have a second building that’s our cultural center where you have different multicultural events and theater where they could share their cultures with everyone.” 

The idea to design a refugee center stemmed the team’s desire to distinguish their model from the competitions. 

“We wanted to do something a little bit more unique,” Younger said. “Since most of the other teams are doing sports complex specific centers, we decided to have a unique idea and that’s just what we came upon.

The team agreed that the model refugee center is also a relevant solution to the increasing number of refugees moving to Sacramento. 

“There’s a high number of refugees in the area and we wanted to have more of a unique idea since a lot of the other groups were doing civic centers and sports complexes,” Younger said. 

The model refugee center not only won honors for best physical model, but the team also received their second award by adjusting it in the timed curveball competition that required a change in location and construction materials. 

“No one knew about it beforehand,” Magee said. “The curveball was they found bones of a specific animal that they needed to excavate… so we had to move one of our buildings to adapt.”

The team was one of two from Cole’s engineering class. Both teams received positive feedback and high scores. 

Most of the students don’t know yet if they’ll pursue engineering as a career, but they agreed they had learned a lot from the class.

“It’s been a really fun experience,” Laing said. “I love working on our projects and I love using all the different tools. It’s really fun.”

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Megan Atkinson, Staff Writer

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