Student Engineering Challenge Encourages Real-World Engineering

By Madison White, Wichita State University

On April 20, 2017, the PepsiCo/SWE Student Engineering Challenge opened to undergraduate students across the nation. PepsiCo and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) teamed up to create an annual competition that promotes undergraduate students to come up with new and innovative ideas that apply to real-world business challenges. Eligible students can enter their designs and earn cash prizes and the chance to compete at the WE17 conference in Austin, Texas. WE17 is the largest professional networking and development conference for women in engineering.

The competition allows for groups of up to four undergraduate to submit their design ideas to the Student Engineering Competition before the deadline of July 17, 2017. Students are encouraged to formulate their ideas as a response to one of the following challenges that relate to the beverage industry and engineering.

The first category is Water and asks students how PepsiCo can reduce their overall water extraction and usage. The second category is Packaging and asks students to come up with better, more sustainable packaging for food and beverage products. The third and final category is Equipment which asks students to design equipment to accompany their existing coolers, fountains, and vending machines.

Three finalists will be decided from all submissions in all three categories. They will be invited to present their ideas at the WE17 to a panel of PepsiCo R&D executives. The winners will also be announced at the WE17 conference which expects 11,000 attendees.

The conference is a great place for networking, but also a great way for students to explore further education opportunities, meet with hiring managers from large engineering companies, and discuss future events with other likeminded women engineers. The competition and conference is a great way for students to experience and be a part of the amazing innovation happening today.

This contest is sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers and PepsiCo. The Society of Women Engineers was formed in 1950 and is the largest advocate for women in engineering and technology. This not-for-profit organization encourages women to see engineering as a viable career option and support them in realizing their full potential as engineers. PepsiCo includes a wide range of food and beverage options that span across 22 brands and over 200 countries. The company generated $63 billion in 2016 in net revenue.

To find more information about the competitions rules, regulations and deadlines, visit

To find out more about the companies and organizations sponsoring this event, please visit and

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