SUA STEM students to enter competition

by Christine Holliday

L-R: SUA STEM team members Kate Burzynski, Sarah Brown and Sara Taite-Trail.
L-R: SUA STEM team members: Kate Burzynski, Sarah Brown and Sara Taite-Trail.

STEM Club students at St. Ursula Academy are working on their entries for two competitions. The group is participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge, sponsored by Toyota Motor and Scholastic. The contest challenges students in grades six through 12  to examine an environmental issue that affects their community and pose a solution using their critical thinking and research skills. The students must keep a notebook of the steps they take, the outcomes of their work, and make a presentation to a judging committee.

The topic of their project is Dredging in the River and Lake. Due to Ohio Senate Bill, sediment dredged from Lake Erie must not be placed back into the lake, so the girls are studying re-purposing lake and river sediment for agricultural purposes. They are growing Daikon radishes, a common fallow field crop, in the sediment to see how it supports vegetation. They are working with the Port Authority, the University of Toledo and Hull & Associates engineering firm.

The prizes for the Lexus competition include money for the school, and scholarship money for members of the school’s Eco Challenge team.

Robotics students from the SUA STEM Team are preparing for competition against local teams at the BGSU Falcon Best Robotics Competition in October. These students must design and build a robot that modernizes farming, document their process in an engineering notebook, defend their work in a 20-minute presentation, and prepare a large display of their project for other teams and judges.

Jackie Kane, SUA physics teacher, is the club moderator. She explained, “I am continually amazed and proud of these students who seamlessly transfer what they have learned in their classroom to well-thought-out solutions to real-life problems.”