Mr. Engineering Pageant puts engineering men on display to raise money for girl scouts

The engineering sorority presented its first annual Mr. Engineering Pageant, featuring four engineering majors as contestants

Several students of ASU's engineering program competed for a cause in the first annual Mr. Engineering Pageant held by the engineering sorority Phi Sigma Rho.

On March 17, the engineering sorority held the inaugural Mr. Engineering Pageant to raise money for their national philanthropy, Girl Scouts of America. The night featured four participants, Matthew Schneider, Aidan Gilligan, Taylor Brown, and Austin Mathus, who competed against each other in a series of four challenges for the title of Mr. Engineering 2017.

Chemical engineering sophomore Joelle Cayer was responsible for planning the event as the sorority's director of philanthropy.

"We’ve put in a month of planning to create this event to raise money for the Girl Scouts of America,” Cayer said. “All the towers in the last event fell….people was a very cheerful, relaxed environment. I had a lot of really good feedback. I was glad to put this on.” 

The merchandise chair for Phi Sigma Rho, neurobiology freshman Hannah Weisman, volunteered to judge the event, because she said it was a way of subverting gender stereotypes. 

"Any opportunity to turn the patriarchy on its head is something I want to be a part of,” she said. 

She said the first event was an entrance that was judged based on the mens' poses and pick up lines. The next challenge was the interview process, where contestants were each asked a variety of questions from the judges, followed by questions from the audience. 

“Aidan (Gilligan) from (the fraternity) Acacia was asked, ‘Who is your favorite superhero?,'" Weisman said, "And he responded ‘My mom.'” 

The contestants followed the interview portion with a lip sync battle. 

“Matt (Schneider) from Sigma Tau Gamma was very well rehearsed," Weisman said. "With two backup dancers doing a backstreet boys song, he reminded me of Josh Chan from Crazy Ex Girlfriend. It was just very well rehearsed," he said.

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Phi Sigma Rho presents Mr. Engineering Pageant

Weisman said she also felt compelled by Austin Mathus’s lip sync, which he embellished with multiple somersaults, and said she felt that Aidan Gilligan “embodied Elsa” in his rendition of Let it Go from Disney’s Frozen. The crowd favorite of the lip sync battle, however, was Brown’s performance of I See the Light from Tangled. 

“Halfway through the song, you realized it was his twin singing, and the actual Taylor got up. They started singing to each other, and the audience loses it," Weisman said. "We had not anticipated it. We did not know what to do. We did not know how to cope”

At the end of the lip sync, the twins switched shirts and took their seats, further confusing the audience as to who was the actual contestant, Weisman said. 

In the last event, an engineering related challenge, the contestants did a Cutthroat Kitchen version of the Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge. While attempting to build the highest tower made of spaghetti and mini marshmallows, contestants were thrown curve balls, such as making the rest of their tower with marshmallow fluff or being forced to use mittens by other contestants who used monopoly money to sabotage their competition.

Aerospace engineering senior Matthew Schneider was one of the four competing. He said the tower building contest was the most fun event of the night. 

“People just came down to dance and talk to us while we were doing our towers. I loved how everyone had fun," Schneider said. 

Schneider went on to win the title of Mr. Engineering 2017 at the end of the four events. 

Proud to be Phi Sigma Rho's first ever Mr. Engineer! Huge shoutout to these ladies for putting on an amazing competition ❤

A post shared by Matt Schneider (@matthew_r_schneider) on

He said the event highlighted the diversity of engineering. 

“I love engineering," he said. "It’s been my life for the past for years, and the fact that there is an entire sorority that shares this interest really excited me. When I met these girls and how great they all were, it made me excited about the future of ASU.”

Having had experience being on his fraternity's philanthropy committee, Schneider said he understood the high stress associated with planning charity events and wanted to make sure his fraternity brothers and friends supported the cause as well. 

“In a competition-based philanthropy, people can lose sight of the main reason: to have fun and raise money," he said. "But I think we definitely did that.” 

Computer science junior Madysen Kolker, the president of Phi Sigma Rho, picked Schneider as the winner of the competition because of his strong performance throughout the night. 

"He had the best lip sync battle, his poses were fire and I loved that he did the splits," she said. "He also had so much support from his friends, who kept calling out ‘We love the crimson chin.’” 

Kolker felt that the overall environment was “upbeat."

"We were all throwing balloons and dancing," she said. "We can get really nerdy with what we’re into. I was so proud and blown away by the success.” 

Cayer is excited to see this event grow as it gets put on in consecutive years. She feels that Phi Sigma Rho has become a family for her.

"Joining this group has allowed me to find girls that are like minded to me. We have really grown as friends and sisters, and putting on this event, we grew even closer together."

Reach the reporter at or at @marcela_bandala

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