UMaine Composites Center to host 300 students for STEM challenges; winners eligible for $20,000 internships

Media release
May 18, 2016

Contact: Meghan Collins, 207.852.8414

Note: Media are invited to cover the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20

UMaine Composites Center to host 300 students for STEM challenges
Winners eligible for $20,000 internships

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center will host the Windstorm Challenge and the 8th Annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge for middle- and high-school students May 20.

Winning team members of both competitions will be offered internships at the UMaine Composites Center valued more than $20,000, contingent upon enrollment at the university.

More than 500 people are expected at the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) competitions, including 300 student participants from Maine.

“We are pleased to present Maine students with these two truly hands-on STEM experiences that will immerse them in energy research inside our 100,000-square-foot laboratory to help spark the next generation of engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and job creators for Maine and for the United States,” said Dr. Habib Dagher, executive director of the UMaine Composites Center.

“We’re confident that some of the best future engineers, scientists and entrepreneurial leaders will be on campus on May 20, and our goal is to inspire them with opportunities in our state.”

The fourth Windstorm Challenge — to be held in the center’s Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Lab — engages students in floating offshore wind technology, innovation and business.

Student teams will design and construct a scale-model floating wind turbine platform and deliver a sales pitch-style presentation to a panel of UMaine and industry judges. The teams’ floating turbine models will be tested under extreme winds and wave conditions. The team that designs and builds the most stable platform and delivers the strongest presentation will be selected the winner.

The 8th Annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge, also being hosted by the center, is a program of the Maine Composites Alliance and the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative. This challenge connects teams of middle- and high-school students with composites companies to construct and infuse a functional set of wind blades.

Each team’s goal is to manufacture an assembly that will generate the most energy in 3 minutes or fewer. Each team also will do a presentation on its respective design and innovation processes.


About UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center:

Since its establishment by the National Science Foundation in 1996, the center has employed and trained more than 2,000 UMaine students. These students were paid to work on award-winning R&D projects funded by more than 500 Maine-based, national and international companies who partner with the center. The center is housed on campus in a 100,000-square-foot laboratory facility valued at more than $110 million. Research at the center has resulted in 42 issued and pending patents, more than 500 published technical papers and the creation of 14 Maine spin-off companies through licensing agreements of its inventions, patents or trade secrets. For more information about the center, visit

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s only public research university. It celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2015. UMaine is among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast and attracts students from Maine and 45 other states, and 65 countries. It currently enrolls 10,922 total undergraduate and graduate students who can directly participate in groundbreaking research working with world-class scholars. The University of Maine offers doctoral degrees in 35 fields, representing the humanities, sciences, engineering and education; master’s degrees in nearly 70 disciplines; 90 undergraduate majors and academic programs; and one of the oldest and most prestigious honors programs in the U.S. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide aimed at conserving energy, recycling and adhering to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit