‘STEM QuESTS Challenge’ winners

Clarkson’s Institute for STEM Education is excited to announce the winners of the first-ever STEM QuESTS Challenge (Questions that Explore STEM for Teachers and Students), offering $7,500 in prizes provided by the Robert A. Plane Endowed Chair. Clarkson University Photo

POTSDAM — Clarkson’s Institute for STEM Education is excited to announce the winners of its first STEM QuESTS Challenge — Questions that Explore STEM for Teachers and Students — offering $7,500 in prizes provided by the Robert A. Plane Endowed Chair.

In February, Clarkson students were asked, “What inspired you to choose your STEM major and career pathway?” and were challenged to create a hands-on educational activity to help spark STEM interest for local middle and high school students. Thirty undergraduate and graduate students from disciplines including math, physics, environmental engineering, chemistry, computer science and more worked in teams to create innovative and inspiring lesson plans.

Teams submitted video pitches of their ideas that were judged by local STEM middle and high school teachers, Clarkson faculty, Clarkson’s Noyce Scholars, and even some middle and high school students. Four teams were selected to move forward to the final round and to fully develop an activity that had to include connections to state learning standards and incorporate active learning. Harrisville science teacher and final judge Nicole Taylor said, “I would use any of these in my classroom.”

The three runner-up teams, each awarded $1,000, were “Ice Cream Chemistry,” submitted by Meredith Muller, Cindy Jiang, Allison Ryan, Carolanne Switzer and Hope Woodruff of SWE; “Whiteface Earth Science,” submitted by Joe Judge and Freddie Amoah-Darko of IMPETUS; and “The Mathematics of Cancer,” submitted by Stacy Brenes and Mackenzie Dalton of the Department of Mathematics.

The grand prize of $1,500 was awarded to the “Food to Energy” team, consisting of Miranda Wolf, Elizabeth Newton, Gabrielle Anastasio and Nikki Borowiec. Their fun and interactive lesson plan focused on honing problem-solving skills by performing an original experiment to model how engineered systems can be used as an optimal solution for food waste.

STEM Ed congratulates the Food to Energy Team, and all the challenge participants, and wishes to thank the STEM Ed development team, Professors Jan Dewaters, Mike Ramsdell, Seema Rivera and Ben Galluzzo and Graduate Assistant Matt Hawthorne.

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