Solve the challenge, get a job.
That's the concept behind Lockheed Martin's 14-foot-tall Challenge Box, which arrived Monday at Ferguson Center on the University of Alabama campus.
"It is an engagement tool with university students to come and solve problems to see if they have what it takes to come to work for Lockheed Martin,” said Bill Brotherton of Lockheed Martin, an aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company.
Each day through Wednesday, the box presents a science, engineering, math or physics problem for UA students to solve.
Students who are able to solve the problem will unlock the box, enter it through a hidden door and then experience a simulated immersive voyage through the cosmos. They will be placed at the top of Lockheed Martin’s recruiting list. In addition, there will be one high-value problem that unlocks a same-day job offer from Lockheed Martin for the student who solves it.
Joe Portnoy, a recruitment marketing manager for Lockheed Martin, said the Challenge Box is a tool to recruit the best and the brightest at UA.
"What we know about engineers is that they love a challenge and we have put a series of questions on the box. It is a reverse escape room. You have to solve the question to get into the box and have a space experience, ” Portnoy said.
On Tuesday, UA students worked in the Great Hall at Ferguson Center to solve the problems, with some working alone and others working in clusters.
Brotherton said on Monday the questions took anywhere from an hour to five hours for students to solve. He said he stayed past the announced closing time to give students who were there working on the problems a better chance to complete the work.
He said he was encouraged by by the tenacity he saw in students who wouldn’t give up until they had solved the problem. He said that tenacious quality is what it takes to be successful in the real world of engineering.