By Audrey Patterson | Reporter
Baylor’s Theme Park Engineering and Design Club is comprised of students who dream of working for Disney or are interested in theme park designs. The organization annually participates in Imaginations, a design competition sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering with the purpose of finding the next generation of Imagineers.
Dr. Jill Klentzman, senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and faculty adviser of the club, said the club was started six years ago by a student.
“[The student] wanted to be able to compete in [Imaginations],” Klentzman said. “They were a big Disney fan and loved the idea of being an Imagineer, and the student approached me about helping to be a sponsor, and that’s how it all began.”
Katy senior Jenna Adams, president of the club, said during her first year, the officers were the team that made it to the finals of Imaginations and got to intern at Disney.
Klentzman said the club differs from other on-campus engineering clubs even though it has a national competition because there is also an artistic component.
“Designing a park exhibit or ride has to have a good design to work, but they also need to be creative and visually appealing,” Klentzman said.
Adams said only juniors and seniors can participate in the Imaginations competition, so when she was an underclassman, they practiced with mini design challenges.
“The purpose of the club is more of a specialized interest, so it’s a smaller group of people, which means that everyone is passionate about it,” Adams said. “We really want to share with everyone what this industry is about and grow people’s interest because theme park engineering is more than just technical skills. There’s a lot of creativity that goes into it.”
Due to COVID-19, the Imaginations competition has been repeatedly canceled. However, according to the Disney Imaginations website, the team is currently assessing a modified experience to continue the competition that started back in 1991.
Adams said the club continues to learn exciting skills.
“I found a roller coaster design simulation program where you basically create a coaster from scratch and then will simulate a car going through,” Adams said.
Adams said all majors are welcome to join the club, as the competition requires a range of engineering, design and artistic skills. She also said she is giving a presentation on how 3D printing or additive manufacturing is used in the entertainment industry on April 28, and it is open to anyone interested.
For more information about the club or the presentation, email Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s a really unique field with a lot of opportunity for innovation,” Adams said. “Disney is always coming up with new things, and this industry is always looking to innovate and push ahead. So there are a lot of really cool technologies that we can learn about, and the Disney competition is a great way to get experience and get your name out there.”