CTC Student Soars in Science Olympiad Club Competition

CTC Student Soars in Science Olympiad Club Competition

Close to 1,200 students attend Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center (CTC) from schools across the county, including Ian Vickery, a junior at Saugerties High School (SHS). Ian is a young professional in the CTC Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing program, and was recently involved in a Science Olympiad Club competition through SHS. 

The Science Olympiad is a national organization that is devoted to improving the quality of science education through workshops and competitions. The competition tasked him and his Saugerties teammate Zachary Feinberg with making a Scrambler, a special car that uses a descending mass to accelerate the vehicle along a linear path. The goal is to move the car down the track as quickly as possible, stopping as close as possible to a predetermined spot.

Vickery and Feinberg made the vehicle from scratch, using nuts and bolts and pieces of plastic and wood. The club had also purchased plastic wheel hubs for the vehicle, but they soon discovered a big problem—the wheels made the vehicle wobble. To address this issue, Vickery tapped into the knowledge and skills he had learned in his Manufacturing program at Ulster BOCES.

“My [CTC] teacher kept saying, ‘the possibilities in manufacturing are endless,’ Vickery said. “I didn’t know what that meant until I was faced with my Science Olympiad challenge. So I applied the knowledge I gained in class and created new wheels, not just solving the problem, but also gaining the ability to tackle future challenges with confidence."

Vickery created the new wheel parts out of aluminum. He first had to design the wheel hubs on a computer program called Fusion 360. He then used a milling machine from his Ulster BOCES classroom—a new state-of-the-art Haas VF2—to cut the hubs from a block of aluminum. 

As he had hoped, the wobble disappeared, and the vehicle ran much more smoothly. 

Vickery attributes a second place win at his first competition and first place win at his second competition to the changes he was able to make to the vehicle using his Ulster BOCES knowledge and skills. Although they have two strong finishes under their belts, the duo is not going to rest yet and plan to continue to explore ways to improve their outcomes. Vickery has his eye on first place at the State competition.  

Hats off to Vickery and Feinberg for adeptly addressing a real-world engineering challenge!

  • Career & Technical Education (CTE)
  • Homepage