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Base engineers interact with Shalimar students

Two eighth-grade students from Meigs Middle School watch their hot air balloon rise into the air during the engineering contest last week at the school. The winning balloon stayed aloft almost 28 seconds.

Two eighth-grade students from Meigs Middle School watch their hot air balloon rise into the air during the engineering contest last week at the school. The winning balloon stayed aloft almost 28 seconds.

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Hurlburt Field Airmen visited Meigs Middle School in Shalimar to give their expertise to the engineering contest held last week as part of National Engineers Week. 

Nine engineers from base, members of the Society of American Military Engineers, gave presentations to the class about engineering and judged the contest. 

“The program gives the students a chance to use their creative and problem solving skills,” said Maj. Mark Mittler, Air Force Special Operations Comm-and civil engineer. “We try to get them excited about engineering.” 

Students from 6th grade were challenged to construct a bridge trussel out of file folder weight paper to try and hold 11 pounds; 7th graders programmed a robot using computer-based software to run a small course; 8th graders built hot air balloons out of tissue paper to see who could keep their balloon aloft the longest. 

“The Society of American Military Engineers’ involvement with our school through Engineers Week gives validity to our programs and allows our students to interact with the professionals of the engineering field,” said Charles Place, Meigs Middle School teacher. 

“I feel that it’s one thing to read and talk about the engineering professions and professionals, but it is so much more meaningful when there is an opportunity to talk to the professionals about their profession.” 

When it was all said and done the students of Meigs Middle School had a glance at what being an engineer is all about. 

“The engineers were nice, and I liked them,” said Davi Roman, 6th grader. “I’m thinking about being an engineer when I grow up.”