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06/05/2015

Student Teams’ Innovation Recognized at Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Competition

Harrisburg, PA - Education Secretary Pedro Rivera is congratulating 19 student teams for their participation in the first Governor’s PA STEM Competition. The event, which highlights the importance of STEM education throughout Pennsylvania, was hosted by Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster on May 29. 

The teams, which were selected through regional contests in March, developed their projects throughout the school year. Students were challenged to select a real-world problem and to research, design, and present a project or device aimed at improving the quality of life for residents of the commonwealth. Any public, private, or charter school, as well as career and technical education center were invited to compete. Teams were encouraged to engage their local communities, and each had a teacher adviser to assist them. 

Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf, and Secretary Rivera attended the event and met with each team to see them operate their project. 

“STEM is a vital component of our education system, and we need to support programs that allow students to apply what they’re learning to real life,” Governor Wolf said. “These students and their teachers should be proud of the projects they created and I was thrilled to experience their hard work first-hand. Getting kids interested in STEM education early on will undoubtedly help lead them toward high-paying jobs down the road.” 

Sec. Rivera added, “It was inspiring to interact with the student teams at this year’s STEM competition and see their original ideas come to life. By channeling their knowledge, skills, and energy into developing innovative ways to build a better Pennsylvania, these students are not just growing intellectually, but also creating solutions that could benefit generations to come.” 

The 19 teams competing in the state finals were:

  • South Fayette High School, South Fayette Township School District, Allegheny County
  • Wyomissing Area High School, Wyomissing Area School District, Berks County
  • Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Blair County
  • Seneca Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District, Butler County
  • Bishop Shanahan High School, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Chester County
  • Carlisle High School, Carlisle Area School District, Cumberland County
  • Garnet Valley High School, Garnet Valley School District, Delaware County
  • Fairview High School, Fairview School District, Erie County
  • James Buchanan High School, Tuscarora School District, Franklin County
  • Valley View High School, Valley View School District, Lackawanna County
  • Pequea Valley High School, Pequea Valley School District, Lancaster County
  • Parkland High School, Parkland School District, Lehigh County
  • Dallas High School, Dallas School District, Luzerne County
  • Hughesville High School, East Lycoming School District, Lycoming School District
  • Merion Mercy Academy, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Montgomery County
  • Delaware Valley High School, Delaware Valley School District, Pike County
  • Northern Potter High School, Northern Potter School District, Potter County
  • Trinity High School, Trinity Area School District, Washington County
  • Franklin Regional Senior High School, Franklin Regional School District, Westmoreland School District 

South Fayette High School in Allegheny County took home the grand prize, which was presented by Rivera and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology president Dr. William Griscom.

Each member of the first place team will receive a $2,000 college scholarship; second place team members will each receive a $1,000 college scholarship; and members of the third place team will each receive a $500 college scholarship.

For descriptions of the students’ projects, see below

2015 Governor’s STEM Competition Student Projects’ Descriptions

  • South Fayette Township High School, South Fayette Township School District, Allegheny County
    • The South Fayette High School team developed a line of products called Life-Safer Walker Innovations aiming to improve upon the traditional geriatric walker. The line focuses on improving traditional walkers in five main areas: electrical, mechanical, structural and aesthetic s.
  • Wyomissing Area High School, Wyomissing Area School District, Berks County
    • The Wyomissing Area High School team created the Smart Pod, a device that allows homeowners to monitor their energy consumption and alter their behaviors to increase energy efficiency and save money. Using sensors and computer algorithms, the Smart Pod monitors its environment, records data, and makes recommendations to users.
  • Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Blair County
    • The Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School team’s project addressed acid mine drainage remediation.
  • Seneca Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District, Butler County
    • The Seneca Valley High School team created a device that protects vegetation from invasive insect infestation. Using amplified, high frequency sound waves, the device imitates natural predators to repel invasive insects. Users can adjust the broadcast frequency, emission area, and sound intensity to imitate various natural predators and protect different kinds of vegetation.
  • Bishop Shanahan High School, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Chester County
    • The Bishop Shanahan High School team created Brilliantly Bright Solar LCD Street Signs, an energy efficient way to ensure roadway safety, improve driver awareness and reduce the amount of car crashes. Built in accordance with state MUTCD regulations, the lighting system was developed using a folding mechanism for emergency stop signs with a solar-powered built-in LCD system. Additionally, the system would incorporate remote access, allowing for the opening and closing of non-operational traffic lights wirelessly.
  • Carlisle High School, Carlisle Area School District, Cumberland County
    • The Carlisle High School team presented the Smart Helmet, a helmet that can identify head trauma incurred by its user and, using Bluetooth technology, send a distress message to an emergency contact. An alternate design for use by football programs incorporates flashing LED lights in the event of head trauma in place of Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Garnet Valley High School, Garnet Valley School District, Delaware County
    • The Garnet Valley High School team created a multi-unit system to precisely collect data on road conditions, improving upon the current system of driver-reported data and weather information collected several feet above roadway level. The information gathered by this system would not only improve travel safety and more accurately record roadway conditions, it could also be used to conduct studies, create statistics, and form informational databases.
  • Fairview High School, Fairview School District, Erie County
    • The Fairview High School team developed a medical utensil disinfectant unit to help reduce the spread of disease in third world countries. Designed to be manufactured in Pennsylvania, the product would also stimulate job creation and benefit the medical research industry in the Commonwealth.
  • James Buchanan High School, Tuscarora School District, Franklin County
    • The James Buchanan High School team developed a lifting device to aid maintenance personnel working on step ladders. Using a wench and rails on the step ladder, the device lifts tool boxes and equipment to allow the operator to remain in place while using the ladder.
  • Valley View High School, Valley View School District, Lackawanna County
    • The Valley View High School team created Every Second Counts, an emergency alert device for use by emergency first responders. The system aims to alleviate travel delays by working with a 911 operator and using three different signals: one for police, one for fire, and one for ambulance services.
  • Pequea Valley High School, Pequea Valley School District, Lancaster County
    • The Pequea Valley High School team created the opportunity for unique lighting sources in Lancaster city. Using Piezoelectric sensors, the team generated electricity in floor tiles, demonstrating a sensor system that could be placed in areas around the community to power lights.
  • Parkland High School, Parkland School District, Lehigh County
    • The Parkland High School team proposed the creation of an electric-powered robot that autonomously shovels snow and salts driveways and sidewalks. The design plans to make snow removal easier, safer, and more manageable for all classes of Pennsylvania’s citizens.
  • Dallas High School, Dallas School District, Luzerne County
    • The Dallas High School team presented a seatbelt safety device that prevents a car engine from starting until the seatbelt is utilized by the driver. In the event that the seatbelt is unclipped during travel, a four-way alert will activate and the engine will be governed.
  • Hughesville High School, East Lycoming School District, Lycoming School District
    • The Hughesville High School team used organic rich pound mud to generate an electric current and improve its design of a microbial fuel cell (MFC). The MFC was developed for the agriculture community, providing an alternate use for animal waste pits in addition to their use as fertilizer.
  • Merion Mercy Academy, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Montgomery County
    • The Merion Mercy Academy team presented a project to address the correlation between hunger and obesity, a problem that exists both in the Commonwealth and around the world. The team developed an electronically monitored insulated crate with air circulation to prolong the life of fresh fruits and vegetables so that food insecure populations may have greater access to healthy food at affordable prices.
  • Delaware Valley High School, Delaware Valley School District, Pike County
    • The Delaware Valley High School team presented Helios, an ice melting spray system designed for senior citizens that heats up and then melts ice that has accumulated on porches and stairs. The product aims to reduce the rate of falling, currently the number one cause of accidental injury and death for senior citizens.
  • Northern Potter High School, Northern Potter School District, Potter County
    • The Northern Potter High School team created the Sentry, a road marker that uses LED indicators and is designed to improve road safety in rural areas.
  • Trinity High School, Trinity Area School District, Washington County
    • The Trinity High School team worked with PennDOT to formulate a deicing agent that effectively melts ice in a more environmentally-friendly manner than existing deicers. The team also made a shovel that dispenses the deicing material to allow users to multitask while shoveling snow and ice.
  • Franklin Regional Senior High School, Franklin Regional School District, Westmoreland School District
    • The Franklin Regional Senior High School team created a trap for stinkbugs. After conducting extensive research, the team built a prototype and tested different parameters, determining the qualities that make an effective trap.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman - 717-783-9802

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