Discovery Cube Center and CSUF host Pumpkin Launch competition

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People prepare to launch their pumpkins for the competition.
(Benjamin Burkhardt / Daily Titan)

October may be over, but hundreds of people arrived at Cal State Fullerton’s Intramural Fields on Saturday at the 11th annual Pumpkin Launch to witness a variety of catapults, trebuchets and pumpkin launchers put to the test.

The event was jointly hosted by CSUF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Discovery Cube center.

Keith Brush, director of education at the Discovery Cube’s science center, said the event was used to show participants how exciting science and engineering is, and provided an opportunity for young kids to get on to a college campus to see engineering in action.

Aside from pumpkin launching, activities such as sword fighting, archery, Alka-Seltzer rockets  and food trucks rounded out the field.

A total of 12 teams participated in the event with five of them hailing from CSUF. Santa Ana College’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, California Baptist University, Sunny Hills High School, Alpine Middle School and three other independent teams filled out the rest of the roster.

The goal of the tournament was accuracy, not distance, as teams setup their launchers to fire at four rows of targets. One team, Medieval Mayhem, dressed up as knights prepared to siege the battlefield lined with castles and dragons. Judges risked injury as they awaited for the volley of pumpkins to land.

After four rounds, the CSUF Society of Women Engineers, led by team captain Aryanna Pham, earned first place in the competition. The all-female team has finished in the top three spots since 2013.  

The group spent every Saturday starting in mid-September working on their catapult according to Pham, the vice president of Fullerton’s Society of Women Engineers chapter.

It’s really important to our club just because there’s not many girls in engineering, especially when you get into mechanical and civil engineering. That’s where there’s the least amount of girls,” Pham said.

In second place was CSUF’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Mary Vu, leader of the organization, said she hopes next year her team can get first place and disprove the stereotype against electrical engineers.

“There were (teams) saying, ‘Oh, you guys are electrical.’ So, we get a lot of people that criticize our work and then criticize us as a team just because this competition isn’t for electrical (engineers). At the end of the day we’re all engineers, so, anything is possible,” Vu said.

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