Last week, The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Student Chapter of Society of Women Engineers and American Society of Mechanical Engineers dedicated their 2014 Monster Mash Pumpkin Smash trebuchet to Dr. JoAnn Browning, dean of UTSA College of Engineering. This year marks the 6th Annual Monster Mash Pumpkin Smash where engineering students design and construct trebuchets, or catapults, and compete against each other to see how far and accurately their devices are able to ‘chuck’ a pumpkin.
“Every year, we try to name the team’s trebuchet after influential women in history or from today, and we decided to choose Dr. JoAnn Browning since she is the college’s first female dean in a number of years,” Marissa Morales, team captain of the SWE and AMSE trebuchet team. “We thought it would be a perfect way to welcome her to campus!”
According to Morales, this year, the team using a floating arm design which is welded entirely out of steel. A group of 12 students worked on the catapult, and they worked tirelessly to refine its highly competitive steel design. The group received materials and professional advice from local business Gavin Steel Fabricating.
Morales says that an event like the Monster Mash Pumpkin Smash allows “us a chance to show that women can participate in a mostly men’s competition and shows that we can weld and design strong weapons.”