DB triumphs at SourceAmerica

A desire to build on both engineering and social skills alike brought Diamond Bar High School students together to participate in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge. This year, DBHS’ team was a national finalist, placing fifth overall.
SourceAmerica is a nonprofit organization seeking to create jobs and improve accessibility for people with disabilities. Every year, they host a design challenge for college and high school students in which teams work with a non-profit agency and a person with a disability in their community in order to develop assistive technologies to help them in their workplace.
DBHS had several participants intrigued by this competition, including sophomore Jeffrey Gong, freshman Priya George, senior Caitlin Lee and junior Brian Hsu.
The leader of the team, Hsu, said that all the team members were in engineering classes under teacher Johnny. Hwang, which was crucial to their ability to compete.
“In our IED [Introduction to Engineering and Design] class, we all learned how to use the CAD (Computer Assisted Design) model,” Hsu said. “This was a vital skill since all of the models had to first be 3D modeled; we each had our own skill sets that came in handy during the building process.”
He explained more about the process of the competition in detail and how teams were placed on performance.
“Out of the 60+ teams from various schools across the nation, 5 teams are chosen to be in the finalists,” Hsu said. “This year. we had to present our designs to a panel of judges who would then ask us questions.”
Due to the pandemic, however, certain restrictions were set in place for this year’s competition. For example, Gong explained that students were not allowed to work with a nonprofit agency and had to deal with a set of prompts to satisfy through the engineering of devices.
“This year, students had to submit a project video and final paper to be judged,” Gong said. “We create prototypes of designs and test them in different situations, such as for ones where people only have one hand or one eye, etc; we film the final submission video on our work and type up our project paper afterwards.”
The competition overall had positive effects on the team members, as they agreed that it helped them to socialize, build real-world engineering skills and have a positive impact on others.
“The competition allowed me to help out people and also progress my skills in technology,” Gong said. “Moreover, I was able to gain teamwork skills and certain engineering skills in the process.”
Hsu also said that the competition was very rewarding, as he explained that he was able to “meet new people, build on my engineering skills, and impact the world positively.”
George said that the competition especially helped her to see things from a new perspective, as it revolved around aiding people with disabilities.
“The competition is important because it allows young minds, including myself, to look at the world from a perspective much different from our own,” George said. “It was interesting to me to put myself in another person’s shoes, and figure out how to make day to day tasks easier for certain people.”