Young Students Test Engineering Skills at African American Male Academic Bowl

Facts were flying among teams of sixth- through eighth-grade African American students as they went head-to-head in an academic challenge as part of The University of Texas at Dallas’ annual “Aiming for the Stars” African American Male Academic Bowl.

A total of 126 scholars on 42 teams participated. Each member of the team from Sue Wilson Stafford Middle School in the Frisco Independent School District won laptops and a team trophy for finishing in first place overall. The contest offered middle schoolers the opportunity to compete in a points-based, three-tiered team competition.

The event included a “Jeopardy!”-style academic quiz bowl, a MathCounts competition and an engineering design segment. This year’s challenge was to use straws to build a truss bridge — a load-bearing superstructure composed of connected elements usually forming triangular units.

“For one day, these young men were true engineers, designing a bridge,” said David Robinson Jr., the event’s co-founder and assistant director of community engagement at UT Dallas. “They are learning the value of teamwork and mutual respect while having fun.”

The African American Male Academic Bowl is hosted by UT Dallas’ Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, along with Project Still I Rise Inc. Other supporters include the Lockheed Martin chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Dallas County Community College District, Texas Sen. Royce West and the Richardson Area Alliance of Black School Educators. The event also featured special guest Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].