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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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March 3: Annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Thirty teams of high school students from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin to participate.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-29-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Thirty teams of high school students from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin will compete to design the most elaborate and hilarious (but also functional) ways to open an umbrella Thursday, March 3 at the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The public is welcome to attend the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. There is no cost.

The teams participating will be competing for a regional title and to qualify for the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Saturday, April 23 at the Waukesha Country Technical College in Pewaukee, Wis., where teams will compete to become the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Division II champion. A complete nationwide calendar of Rube Goldberg events is available online.

Thursday’s regional event at Minnesota State Mankato, sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence, lets high school students display their creativity, humor and ingenuity while learning about engineering.

For more information, contact Stephanie Zojonc, STEM outreach director for the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (MNCME), by phone at 507-389-2110 or by email at

Designed to encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving for students of all ages, the STEM- (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM- (science, technology, engineering, art and math) friendly Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, according to its website, tackles the most mundane tasks and asks participants to create their own overly elaborate and hilariously conceived wacky contraptions that accomplish that task in honor of the competition’s founding father. The first National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was launched in 1988.

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was an engineer, sculptor, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who depicted overly complex machines performing simple tasks. The machines that he drew often were impossible to build and operate, but were entertaining because they defied implementation.

Goldberg spent most of his career as a cartoonist for the New York Evening Mail, founding the National Cartoonist Society and winning a Pulitzer Prize.

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The Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (MNCEME) is a consortium of two-year colleges located throughout Minnesota, led by Minnesota State Mankato. The goal of the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence is to develop forward-looking talent in engineering and advanced manufacturing, which is accomplished through STEM-based outreach, innovative degree programs and professional development.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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