The US Army this week announced that the eighth graders of the Appalachian Science Experiment from Avery County are one of 60 regional finalist in the 13th annual eCYBERMISSION competition — one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the US Army Educational Outreach Program. Sponsored by the US Army and administered by the National Science Teachers Association, eCYBERMISSION, is a web-based STEM competition that is free to students and designed to help build students’ interest and knowledge in STEM. Students in grades six through nine are challenged with developing a solution to a real-world problem in their local community. Students compete on state, regional and national levels for monetary awards, with national winning teams receiving up to $9,000 in US EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity.
The Appalachian Science Experiment, consisting of Suzy Clark, C.J. Clark and Nathaniel Hardy, worked together with team advisor Elizabeth Hardy to develop the SPOT-R project. SPOT-R, which stands for Seeking People over Terrain Remotely, and features a quadcopter that can seek lost people as well as working as an educational and recruitment tool. Through the eCYBERMISSION website, the Appalachian Science Experiment created a mission folder — the official write-up of their project — which requires students to work through all steps of the engineering design process before submitting to be evaluated and scored by a panel of virtual judges.
For the first time ever this year, as a regional finalist, the members of the Appalachian Science Experiment will receive $1,000 in US EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity.
“The US Army is excited and pleased with the hard work presented by the regional finalist teams,” said Louie R. Lopez, Program Manager for eCYBERMISSION. “This was no easy challenge to take on and all of the teams’ projects this year have set the bar high for future eCYBERMISSION competitions.”
“Each year, we are awed by the ingenuity and passion students bring to the competition,” said Dr. Juliana Texley, NSTA President. “These extraordinary students are tackling real issues and developing solutions that could benefit their local communities and the world around them. We join the U.S. Army in congratulating the regional finalists on their inspiring work and commend all the team advisors for encouraging and supporting their students while helping to expand their knowledge and vision.”
In the next round of the STEM competition, a panel of virtual judges will take the top score from regional finalist teams in each grade in each of the five regions to advance as one of 20 regional winners. All 20 regional winning teams move on to compete as national finalists at the National Judging and Education Event. National finalists also receive $2,000 in US EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity. NJ&EE is an all-paid expenses trip, taking place June 15 to 19, 2015, in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.