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Pratt & Whitney Supports Urban Youth at CPEP Challenge Day

By Barbara Bresnahan | Correspondent
HARTFORD, Conn., | Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Since 1986, CPEP - Catalysts Powering Educational Performance - has been providing children in Connecticut with an exciting approach to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. Students in 11 urban cities throughout the state attend out-of-school programs – supported by CPEP staff, volunteers and mentors – and work on challenging projects, which eventually make their way to the much-anticipated CPEP Day each May.

This year, CPEP Challenge Day took place on May 10 at the Hartford Armory on Broad Street and featured hundreds of enthusiastic youth, ready to put their designs to the test. Air-powered boats, mousetrap vehicles, magnetic levitation vehicles, roller coasters, egg-drop packages and Rube Goldberg machines filled the Armory's "parlors," with other fun events, such as chess matches, minute-to-win-it events and math challenges, taking place in booths interspersed around the hall.

A number of partners and sponsors support CPEP, including Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies, who also provide many of the day's volunteer judges.

"I volunteered at CPEP last year and enjoyed judging the kids' work, so I volunteered again this year," said Karim Kamareddine of Pratt & Whitney. "The fun part for me is seeing the kids show off the fruits of their hard work. It's great to be in a place with hundreds of kids excited to learn and to participate in a statewide event."

Abigail Piva, also of Pratt & Whitney, was another of the STEM professionals on hand to judge designs.

"CPEP Day combines a huge focus around science and engineering with the excitement and fun of the kids showing off their projects," she said.

STEM professional judges included engineers, teachers, scientists and area business leaders.

Piva continued, "I am proud Pratt & Whitney represents a large amount of the day's volunteers, as CPEP is truly a winning program in the Hartford area."

For more information about CPEP and its participating communities, visit them online at www.cpep.org.

Photo Credit

Barbara Bresnahan

Photo Captions

Photo 1: A student makes adjustments to his roller coaster prior to judging at the May 10 CPEP Day event in Hartford. Student teams were challenged to design and construct a roller coaster for the Lake Compounce Roller Coaster Challenge. The design had to include at least one helix and one loop and an aspect/element from Lake Compounce.

Photo 2: UTC's Suzanne Benoit was one of the judges on hand for the Roller Coaster Challenge on CPEP Day.

Photo 3: Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman mades the rounds with CPEP CEO Bruce Dixon during the 2013-2014 CPEP Challenge Day event at the Hartford Armory.

Photo 4: Pratt & Whitney volunteer judges at the Egg Drop Challenge booth included (back left to right) Nyame Smith, Adam Rivard, Robert Williston Jr., unidentified, Bill Sheridan, Carolyn Begnoche, Christina Powell, (front left to right) Yashira Cordero and Melina Laureano.

Photo 5: Abby Piva and Matthew Williston of Pratt & Whitney watch as a marble makes its way to the finish line during CPEP's Roller Coaster Challenge.

Photo 6: Bombs away ... Carolyn Begnoche from Pratt & Whitney lets loose a container in the Egg Drop Challenge.

Photo 7: Karim Kamareddine and Mario Borbas, both of Pratt & Whitney, pose for a quick photo in between roller coaster judging duties.

Photo 8: Abby Piva from Pratt & Whitney was one of the volunteer judges on hand at CPEP Challenge Day in Hartford.

Photo 9: Candice Jelks and fellow judges from Pratt & Whitney had to come up with some last-minute engineering themselves, as light from the sunroof was causing problems on the Maglev vehicle track. After shielding the track with plastic, the competition was under way.

Photo 10: Jeffrey Huang and Dee Dee Chin of Pratt & Whitney spent CPEP Day judging the Maglev vehicles entered in the competition. Students were required to demonstrate the concepts of magnetism, magnetic levitation and advantages of maglev transportation.

Photo 11: Steven Porter was a volunteer judge from Pratt & Whitney at the May 10, 2014 CPEP Challenge Day held at the Hartford Armory.

Photo 12: Carlos Pantoja, Christine McGinnis and Steven Porter of Pratt & Whitney get ready to judge Olivia Moseley's mousetrap-powered vehicle.

Photo 13: Eliannah Hunderford of Pratt & Whitney watches a mousetrap-powered vehicle as it speeds down a racetrack set up in the Hartford Armory during the 2013-2014 CPEP Challenge Day on May 10.

Photo 14: Carlos Pantoja (right) of Pratt & Whitney measures the number of meters a mousetrap vehicle traveled during Challenge Two of CPEP Day's activities. Potential energy, friction and lever were some of the concepts children kept in mind while creating their vehicles.

Photo 15: Denisha Clayton from Pratt & Whitney holds a mousetrap vehicle steady as a student winds it up for its trip down the racetrack.

Photo 16: CPEP CEO Bruce Dixon (left) poses with teachers and students who built a go-cart, which was on display at the Armory.

Photo 17: Suzanne Benoit, a volunteer judge from UTC, helps a team with a roller coaster problem.

Photo 18: Mario Borbas was one of a number of judges from Pratt & Whitney who volunteerd at the CPEP Challenge Day at the Hartford Armory on May 10. Here, Borbas assesses a student's roller coaster project.