Nearly 500 high school students from across the region visited Pitt State in April for the first ever Great Gorilla Games.

The event featured a variety of STEM-based challenges and competitions, most of which took place in John Lance Arena. Challenges ranged from building rubber-band-powered dragsters and airplanes to designing and building an autonomous robot.

“This had been in the works for about a year,” said Mike Neden, associate professor in technology and workforce learning and one of the key organizers of the Great Gorilla Games. “It’s an expansion of an annual event we called the Gorilla Games, which kept growing to the point where we knew we’d one day need more space.

“We want the students who participate to truly get a broad-ranging scope of what STEM and technology education is all about,” Neden said. “We want to expose them to this type of environment and hopefully show them why this field continues to grow in relevance and importance.”

When they weren’t competing, students were able to view a series of technology-related presentations inside and outside the Kansas Technology Center, including demonstrations by the Teeniemunde Rocketry Club and professional drag racers.

Gorilla games