“B” Engineered as you read about our recent events, updates and opportunities available through this engineering program, highlighted by speakers from local Engineering firms, monthly hands-on engineering labs and our Robotics I & II course, which is offered in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College!

The course offerings currently available to students in Engineering are:

  • Robotics I & II
  • Raspberry Pi & Drones
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)

See a brief bio of speakers who have been a guest to Benedictine during our Engineering Seminars!

We have some very exciting news – Benedictine is teaming up with Cuyahoga Community College to participate in their Youth Technology Academy. Students at Benedictine will be dual-enrolling for the Spring semester and will be receiving both high school and college credits through the CCP program for a Robotics course. Distance learning with CCC through an interactive seminar with the other schools participating, and then a lab day at Benedictine with teacher, Mr. Robert Ryan, will allow the students the opportunity to learn more about robotics, learn to program with Arduino, and then to actually construct their own small robots which they will program to do certain tasks. A first step toward a hopefully larger goal such as participation in the yearly FIRST Robotics Competition, currently 16 students are registering to participate in this course. Spots remain in the class until we reach 20 students. There is a $200 fee, or unused CCP credits may be applied. Please contact Mr. Robert Ryan, or Mrs. Sue Zulandt for more information.

Past Engineering Challenges:

2019-2020 School Year

Circle of Pong Challenge *** Update link

  • This week the Engineering challenge was to devise a way to deposit a ping-pong ball into a paper cup that is located in the middle of a 6-foot diameter circle.

The Zip Line *** Update link

  • Design and build something that can carry a Ping-Pong ball from the top of a zip line string to the bottom in excess of 10 seconds.

2018-2019 School Year

Rover Landing Challenge **** Update link

  • This week’s Engineering Challenge: Design and build a landing device for your ‘Egg
    Rover’ that will protect it from structural damage when landing after being dropped from
    a height of 10 feet

Paper Bridge Engineering Challenge *** Update link

  • The Engineering club had a Mechanical Engineering guest speaker and an engineering challenge.

Egg Drop 2019 **** Update link

  • This is a creative challenge for future engineers: design an egg contraption that would prevent an egg from breaking when dropped from the “ceiling” in the cafeteria.


2017-2018 School Year

Tallest Tower Engineering Challenge #1  *** Update link

  • The first Engineering challenge of the year involved teams of four creating the tallest possible tower given only straws, pipe cleaners, and paperclips. The tower had to support the weight of a golf ball for two minutes. Additionally, the golf ball had to be placed near the top of the tower, with the bottom of the ball no more than 20% below the upper height of the tower.

Marshmallow Tower Engineering Challenge #2 *** Update link

  • The second Engineering challenge of the year involved teams of four creating the tallest possible tower given only 20 pieces of spaghetti, one yard of string, a yard of tape and a marshmallow. The tower had to support the marshmallow for 30 seconds without collapsing.

Catapult Challenge #3 *** Update link

  • The third Engineering challenge of the year involved teams of four creating a simple catapult.

Balloon Astronaut Design Challenge #4  **** Update link

  • Design an outfit for your water balloon astronaut that will protect it from the effects of being hit by small space debris moving at high speeds.

Paper Platform Challenge #5 *** Update link

  • Objective is to develop and construct a platform that will support the weight of a concrete block.

Engineering Club Service to Christ Child Society

  • On January 28, 2018 the Benedictine Engineering Club made 43 lap blankets in support to the “My Stuff” bags for the Christ Child Society of Cleveland. The Christ Child “My Stuff” Bags program began in 1993 to serve the needs of children in shelters, children who more often than not arrive with nothing other than the clothes they are wearing. The reusable, colorful bags are filled with gender and size specific items of clothing, underwear, socks and hygiene items. Age specific tablets, crayons/markers and a lap blanket for the younger children are included. “My Stuff” bags are assembled and distributed monthly as needed in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.


2016-2017 School Year

April 2017 – Pringles Challenge **** Update link

On March 28, 2017 the Engineering program was fortunate to visit Fredon Corp.  Our students were provided with a comprehensive visit led by Rich Ditto, Vice President of Operations.

It was evident immediately that there was a commitment to the success of the organization and meeting the needs of the customer.  Rich told our students that “every job is a reflection of our company and everyone must build on experience and strive to be more efficient. “

As part of the tour our students learned about CNC Machining, Additive Manufacturing, advancements from the industry standard Bridgeport (1980), 4 and 5 axis mills, Lean Manufacturing, Castings, EDM, Assembly operations, CNC Turning, QC Scanning, Blueprint Readings, ISO, Geometric Tolerancing, Quality Control, ISO and Blueprints.

Rich also stressed the importance of professionalism and demonstrating pride in your work.  Fredon is an American Manufacturer and uses American materials.  He encouraged the students to seize opportunity, build on personal experience and the experience of mentors.

As part of the tour, Derek a machinist from Fredon and the mentor to the Lake Catholic Robotics team as well as Alice Cable from the Alliance for Working Together, AWT provided an overview of the robotics opportunity and demonstrated Lake Catholic’s 15 lb. combat robot.  It was violent and a little scary as its turning weapon spinning at 12,000 rpm caused damage to the arena cage and a printer.  The competition is in its 8th year and pairs a local high school with a local manufacturer to work together to learn about manufacturing and design as they go through the development, manufacture and testing required to compete in the battle.  This year’s competition is at Lakeland Community College on April 29th.  It is a free event and open to the public.  The AWT RoboBots is Northeast Ohio’s combat robotics program for high school students. They are a regional chapter of the National Robotics League.  AWT and Benedictine are working to identify a manufacturing partner so we may have a team next year.

Additionally, our students were treated by the AWT to a video that showed the design of Formula 1 vehicles from the ground up.  The video, “Built for Speed” documented the complete design process at Dallara.  It stressed the importance of SAFETY, Design for Manufacturing, Precision and the commitment to Excellence.

Benedictine would like to thank Fredon and AWT for this great opportunity to learn about manufacturing and the careers available in southeast Ohio.

March 2017 – Dome Challenge

This week’s engineering challenge was to design and build a dome that can support at least 60 pennies on the top.  The rules were:

  • You may choose from any of the materials provided to build your dome. NOTE: If you take the material you must use the material in your design. Plan your dome before building.
  • The dome must be no more than 12″ high and fit within a 12″ square.
  • The dome needs to support a paper cup on top. Note:  Test each dome by adding weight to the paper cup

The students worked in groups of four to build their structures.  Each group had the opportunity to select materials from the following supplies and equipment:

  • Pennies
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard or cereal boxes
  • Wooden craft dowels
  • Various paper types
  • Rubber bands
  • Craft sticks
  • String
  • Tape
  • Paper cup

Several teams after some trial and error built a “dome” that would support the weight.  Two teams decided to improve their designs to support 1200 pennies and boxes of materials.

January 2017 – Movers Challenge – Civil Engineering, Force, Structure 

Benedictine Engineering students were given 1 marble, 1 balloon,3 straws,tape,30 feet of string,  a large rubber band, 2 paper clips, a square of cardboard, a pair of scissors and a piece of cloth.  There was a focused effort by all to design and build a device that would move a marble across the room at least 12 feet with the following rules:

  • The object cannot touch the ground;
  • The object cannot be moved across the room by a person (no throwing);
  • Only use the materials given could be used as part of the solution;
  • No design solution can be copied.

Prizes were awarded to the students on five teams whose designs met the criteria.

2015-2016 School Year

March 2017

Brian Schoeffler, Kyle Jordan, Thomas Tube, Zavier Roberts, Andrew Schiffer accompanied by Mr. Robert Ryan and Mrs. Charlene Zulandt, and had the opportunity to showcase our Benedictine STEM activities at the Great Lakes Science Center as part of the White House Office of Science Technology Policy “Making” event. The students presented to Adam Savage, TV Host/Inventor, formerly of MythBusters and Andrew Coy, a senior advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

They each had the opportunity to tell our story which includes our partnership with MAGNET, the Youth Technical Academy, Monks Corner, and our Engineering Club build events.

Senior, Thomas Tube discussed our Engineering and Robotics programs with Therese Griebel, Director, Aeronautics Directorate at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Thomas also graciously thanked the director for the opportunity and shared his excitement about his upcoming Project Real at NASA. Senior, Kyle Jordan shared his programming experiences and CAD. They were both encouraged by the Director to continue their experiences and investigate continued opportunities with NASA.

The students also took part in an engineering build event for a future city. Our students built a church adorned with a cross, seating, stained glass windows, an altar and St. Benedict.
The students visited the MC2STEM mobile fab lab and interacted with other local students and members of the community.

Read the story from Cleveland.com and News Herald, and scroll through the photos to find our “Champion” Engineers collaborating with high school students from around Northeast Ohio.

Our IT Director, Mr. Salem ’90 has ordered 16 top notch workstations capable of CAD and a list of proposed software for our FabLab, along with a separate server.

We are working with Father Timothy ’60 to redesign our library and our CAD class is working on the project, designing alternatives for the library portion~having lists of open ideas for the “fablab” side.

Additionally, our Robotics instructor, Mr. Rob Ryan has graciously agreed to be the advisor for our Combat Robotics team next year! Roger Sustar, from the Alliance for Working Together (AWT) and Fredon, is assisting us in securing a sponsor for this robotics team, that will compete in the AWT event and the National Robotics League event.

February 2016

Robotics class has been going great! Students may be frustrated on a daily basis in class with their robots not functioning perfectly, but that’s all part of engineering and programming! Troubleshooting and problem solving are such an integral part of robotics (and programming of all types) and our students really are learning that first hand. One student, Markee Zrnich ’16, even said just yesterday, “I was really frustrated because it wasn’t working, but I fixed the problem… it was a small, stupid issue with the code. Now it is working perfectly.” Those situations and the resulting persistence are what is making these students so much more resilient in their work. Our program was even mentioned in Cleveland Magazine in the March 2016 issue (pg. 142) where I was interviewed about how robotics is helping the students in the real world. It has certainly been fun so far. Applying for a STEM grant, Mrs. Sue Zulandt asked us to make a short video of what we had been working on. Here’s a short one about a programming lab we completed with LEDs.

December 2015

Twenty five students from the EDSS club and YTA course toured the Washkewicz College of Engineering at Cleveland State University.

Current CSU Engineering students presented “What an Engineer Does?” to our students.  They explained that Engineering is fundamental and essential for solving the challenges facing humanity, including securing clean and sustainable energy, assuring economic growth, as well as developing affordable and high quality health care.

Our Engineering hosts explained that the Washkewicz College of Engineering offers engineering degrees in the following engineering disciplines: Chemical and Biomedical, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as contemporary degrees in Electronic Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology and provided multiple of examples of each.

We learned about the Cooperative Education Program and Scholarships available to Engineering Students.  Our students had interactive tours in the Simulator Lab, Prosthetic Lab, lecture hall and a tour of the student commons.

They had the opportunity to drive a SEGWAY and watched a presentation about the Dean Kaman and his passion to provide opportunities to students to pursue STEM careers address global medical issues and make the world a better place.

There was also an Engineering challenge where the students designed a structure to support a small ball.  The students had multiple constraints and limited materials.  They worked together to create varied solutions.

November 2015

After our Benedictine registration ended with 17 students, we are trying to partner with Beaumont School to allow 3 of their young ladies to join our Bengals for the course. Hopefully we can fill the 20 student seats and get as many students involved as possible! In addition, Mr. Ryan attended a session with CCC last weekend and was able to come back with these photos of the robots that our students will be building in the class!