Monthly KEEN Challenge Adds a Historical Note

This month’s KEEN Challenge offered engineering students a chance to see how well they know their campus.  The competition turned into an architectural scavenger hunt as teams were provided historical layouts and information about Gonzaga buildings, many of which have been remodeled and added onto. 

KEEN Program Coordinator, George Ricco, PhD, says the Challenge was meant to force students to use basic engineering skills and deductive reasoning in a fun environment. "The students had to perform numerous tasks involving architecture diagrams of university buildings and grounds from 1948 to 1989. They had to identify current structures given certain identifying factors, demonstrate historical knowledge, and answer a few open-ended questions,” says Ricco. 

The 1948 plans hailed from when Dillon Hall (now part of the Herak Center for Engineering) was built. Students needed to complete the Challenge within the one-hour time limit.  Twenty seven students on nine teams competed for the $100 per team member prize. Team Nora Hall, comprised of Max Hernandez-Brita (EE), Jun Li (ME), and Cameron Johnson (ME), won the competition.

Ricco says the KEEN Challenges provide a general problem that requires critical thinking and problem solving skills not endemic to any particular branch of engineering. He states, “The goal is to give students practice at solving fluid or divergent problems.” The lunch-time competitions are part of a broader effort in SEAS to mentor students toward creative and socially-relevant work after graduation.  

The Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) is a collaboration of U.S. universities that strive to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering and technology students. 


Keen Challenge

Students participate in KEEN Engineering Challenge

Keen Challenge

Students participate in KEEN Engineering Challenge

Keen Challenge

KEEN Program Coordinator, George Ricco, PhD observes student efforts to solve the KEEN Challenge