Competitions Give Embry-Riddle Students a Key Advantage

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students thrive on being the best of the best, and they welcome every opportunity to prove themselves against the toughest competition they can find.

The chance to enter local, national and international competitions is a big part of the Embry-Riddle advantage, and our students learn firsthand how to handle winning and losing in pressure-packed environments that mimic real-life industry conditions.

“We learned how to be flexible when the customer demands changed, which is something common that happens in the real world,” said Aerospace Engineering student Bruno Aranda, who recently was part of a team that designed a supersonic business jet engine for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Gas Turbine Design Competition.

It’s that kind of practical hands-on experience that only competitions can provide, and one of the key reasons Embry-Riddle students compete in a range of events that involve everything from precision flying or designing autonomous vehicles to running a simulated restaurant and devising ways to bring solar power to America’s frigid heartland.

Because we have a long legacy of competitive excellence, Embry-Riddle’s faculty and staff are continually seeking out new challenges for students to see how they measure up against their peers from around the globe.

“Competition gives our students the training and design experience they need to launch into careers,” said Dr. Marc Compere, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

The benefits are obvious. Since most competitions require teams, students learn to work together toward a common goal and overcome unforeseen obstacles – such as the pandemic – as a cohesive group. They learn how to cope with pressure, frustration and each other. They take winning in stride and bounce back quickly when things go wrong.

High-end challenges such as those Embry-Riddle students most often enter offer an unvarnished look at the real world and prepare competitors for the many trials they will face as they launch their careers.

While it’s great to win – and our students are no strangers to gold medals and first-place finishes – it’s being part of the experience that really makes the difference for the future.

“This competition has given me the necessary contacts that you cannot get anywhere else,” said Mechanical Engineering student Alex Shiffer, part of a team that designed advanced propulsion and automation systems for a more efficient car.

Engineering Physics student Payce Hooker, who took part in a recent NASA competition that challenged teams of students from around the world to plan a deep space mission, focused on another upside that comes from the experience.

“Participating in a NASA competition should help me stand out when I am applying [to jobs],” he said.