This year’s Engineering Games, hosted by SWE (Society of Women Engineers), pitted teams from six engineering student organizations in a clash of talent, skill, and problem solving. Representing HKN (Eta Kappa Nu), the international honor society for Electrical and Computer Engineers, ECE graduate student David Hiskens and CS senior Alyssa Kornylo took home the Mr. and Ms. Engineering crowns with a winning performance in the talent portion of the competition.
The competition, formerly called Mr. Engineer, raised over $2,000 for the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program last Saturday.
The games were divided into three separate challenges. First, in the talent portion, David and Alyssa showcased a mashup of Disney’s Frozen and Lord of the Rings. The skit was David’s idea – he had a Gandalf and Frodo costume at the ready from a midnight Hobbit premiere, and spent a weekend crafting the lyrics.
“I didn’t get much homework done that weekend,” he says.
Alyssa’s ensemble was completed with a stale dB Café donut for a ring.
“When I threw the ring at the end it burst into pieces,” she said with a laugh. “You could see people realizing in waves what it was.”
The show of skill portion had every team solve a timed brainteaser. David and Alyssa were outperformed here – three teams managed a correct response while they hadn’t puzzled out a solution. But their performance alone was enough to make it to the final round.
In the last round, three remaining teams were each presented with a different survival scenario. Given certain materials, they had to engineer a creative way to stay alive.
The HKN team was left stranded on North Campus in the summer, with no way inside and no fresh water. Presented with rudimentary filtering materials and chlorine, the pair had to manage to make the reflection pool drinkable in a pinch.
“It’s a good thing I’m a chem minor because I know not to add a bunch of chlorine to my water,” Alyssa quips.
Ultimately, the team’s rough filtration system (sans chlorine) took the lead. Crowned Mr. and Ms. Engineering, they were awarded gift cards and a place on the competition’s ongoing trophy. This make’s HKN’s third win since the competition began in 2001, tying them with Theta Tau, a national engineering fraternity.
David is in his first year of PhD studies under Prof. Raj Nadakuditi, and spends his time balancing coursework and writing Tolkien-inspired lyrics. He graduated from Michigan with his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
Alyssa will graduate in May with a major in CS and a minor in Chemistry. Afterwards she’ll be taking a job in robotics at Dow Chemical. Alyssa is the third of her siblings to graduate from the U-M College of Engineering.