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Mar 23, 2017 10:29 AM EDT

The University of Akron, College of Engineering in partnership with the Soap Box Derby will present the Gravity Racing Challenge STEM Team Competition. UA president Matthew Wilson had announced on Wednesday that the College of Engineering will be sponsoring the competitions in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus and Marysville.

The Gravity Racing Challenge is Soap Box Derby's education-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative. They aim to engage students in critical thinking, problem solving and learning through experience. After class, 3rd-12th graders build cars for the derby.

Wilson said that this collaboration will help more students become proficient in STEM subjects and excite them. Last year, 166 teams participated in the Gravity Racing Challenge STEM competitions.

UA's College of Engineering first partnered with Soap Box Derby in 2015 when the National Science Foundation awarded a $750,000 grant to the derby. The project was called, Zipping Towards STEM, where in the engineering students worked with eighth-grade teachers to help with the design process and technical aspects of the cars.

Soap Box Derby vice president Bobby Dinkins said that they look forward to expose more students to their STEM-based education programs through the collaboration. He added that their partnership with the College of Engineering is perfect because many kids that are involved with Soap Box Derby racing are future engineers.

According to Crain's Cleveland Business, the College of Engineering plans to have three teams of freshman compete in the derby's collegiate engineering design challenge. The teams will build cars and race against other colleges.

The Soap Box Derby holds a variety of racing events throughout the year. The All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship Race Week runs from July 16-22.

Every year more and more participants join the competition. One of them was the students at Seiberling Community Learning Center that showed off their Soap Box Derby cars on Wednesday that will be competing in this year's competition according to Fox 8 News.`

Follows University of Akron, Soap Box Derby, Gravity Racing Challenge STEM Team Competition, The University of Akron, College of Engineering, stem, Matthew Wilson, Zipping Towards STEM, science, technology, engineering, Mathematics
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