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Lego Challenge excites freshmen

The Lego Challenge, held at Stevenson University on Sept. 30, offered students in their First-year Seminar classes the chance to compete against one another in creating a Lego sculpture that best demonstrates the Career Architecture process.  According to Stevenson President Kevin J. Manning, “This is the 10th year in which the university has hosted this event.”

One of two first place Lego Challenge winners was the business communication team. (Photo from Stephanie Verni)

Winners in 2016 included several ties: first place went to the business communication team for their rendition of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and to the biochemistry team for their creation of a rain chain.

Nursing and film and moving image teams tied for second place, while third place was a tie between accounting and education teams.

“What really helps groups win is the presentation they give,” said Jacqueline Goetz, the coordinator of the event hosted by Career Services.

Students receive a two-minute window to explain to a team of judges how their sculpture relates to the different aspects of the Career Architecture process. These presentations need to mention personal direction, discipline expertise and professional know-how, the building blocks of Career Architecture and subsequent career plans.

“The sculpture can be great, but the groups with the best presentation are the ones who win,” Goetz said. Unlike other competitions, the Lego Challenge involves more than a day of competition. Each group’s supervisors evaluate their classes during the preparation process to assess how well the students use teamwork, collaboration, innovation, problem-solving and creativity.


The biochemistry team also celebrates their first-place win. (Photo from SU Flickr)

For the 2016 challenge, the judges included Dr. Manning; Tonja Paylor, a director of public relations and marketing; Jessica Strothers, a healthcare project coordinator; Tracey Cantabene, a former member of the Career Services staff; Chris Robinson, a director of recruitment; Beverly Hill, a fashion stylist; Tiara Booker, an ombudsman; and Dan Waters, an alumni who now works at the Department of Defense. The judges looked for the competitors’ use of innovation in demonstrating the different aspects of Career Architecture in their designs.

Past winners of the Lego Challenge have included Brown School of Business and Leadership in 2012, led by Larry Henderson; the School of Design in 2014, which was led by Christopher Reed; and the School of Sciences in both 2013 and 2015, each of which was led by Diane Payne.

“We’ve gotten as many students involved as we can when speaking to the judges,” said Payne, explaining one of the secrets to a prize-winning performance. “Our plans never looked that elaborate…but they learn to really discuss and explain it in terms of Career Architecture goals.”

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Lego Challenge excites freshmen