Oklahoma Christian hosts 2009 National Engineers Week Future City competition 

Move over and make way " the engineers of tomorrow are here.

About 300 middle school students from across the state will compete Saturday in the 2009 National Engineers Week Future City competition, an annual national contest that brings together kids eager to learn about engineering.

Participating students will be judged on a model city they built as a replica of a virtual creation they composed in "SimCity 4," a computer game. Additionally, they will submit an essay centering on this year's theme of creating new technologies for a self-sufficient home water system. Students also submit an abstract about their own city and give a short presentation to judges.

"It gets (kids) to think about ways we can conserve or recycle some of that water," said Todd Hiemer, Oklahoma regional event coordinator. "It's been one of my goals since I started this a long time ago to get every school in Oklahoma involved, because I think it's that good of a process for the kids."

Oklahoma's winning student will compete in February at the Washington, D.C., finals competition with winners from the 37 other competing regions. The national grand prize winner will receive a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.

"There's a large portion of companies in Oklahoma that use engineers to make their companies profitable," Hiemer said. "There is a big need for engineers, especially in the future, with all the baby boomers retiring."

Students will give presentations throughout the day at Oklahoma Christian University's Gaylord University Center, 2501 E. Memorial.

"Caitlin Harrison

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