Nevada Engineers Go to Disneyland

Gabbi Bachard, Andew McNeilly and Nolan Nicholson pose with Mickey Mouse at the 2015 Imaginations competition Jan. 26-30.

Gabbi Bachard, Andew McNeilly and Nolan Nicholson pose with Mickey Mouse at the 2015 Imaginations competition Jan. 26-30.

Engineers have to be good at math and science, but they also have to be creative. This year, three engineering students at the University of Nevada, Reno used both their engineering skills and their creativity in a competition sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering.

Every year, Walt Disney Imagineering challenges college students to design a Disney-inspired experience based on contest rules. This year, teams were asked to re-imagine a transportation system in a major city. The University’s team chose to create an underground transportation system in Chicago featuring four adventure-filled routes to locations throughout the city. Guests would be able to “travel” into classic stories including a sci-fi space mission, a far-away jungle expedition, a deep ocean dive and a historic Chicago adventure.

Out of almost 200 teams, the students were named as one of the six semifinal teams, wining the chance to travel to California to present their project.

“The project is a cool combination of a lot of things we all like: it’s got application of engineering design and creativity to a problem outside what we’re used to, it involved making a lot of hands-on designs and concept art, and it’s tied in with people and themes from Disney,” said Nolan Nicholson, a chemical engineering major and member of the team.

Although the team didn’t place in the top three at the finals, all three team members received paid internships with Walt Disney Imagineering this summer. Walt Disney Imagineering is the creative team that imagines and builds Walt Disney theme parks.

“I am incredibly excited to be working with Imagineering, it’s an opportunity I’ve always wanted,” said team member Gabbi Bachand, who is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in art.  “I was amazed to learn how much Imagineering blends art and science. Being an engineer and an artist, this environment means the world to me, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

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