The Center for Science Teaching and Learning, a Rockville Centre-based not-for-profit organization focused on encouraging science learning and literacy, is set to host the 2018 Spellman High Voltage Electronics Clean Tech Competition in July.
The theme of this year’s competition is climate change. Themes for past competitions have included “Feed the World,” “Clean Water for All” and “Solar Solutions.” The last day for submissions was April 13.
The annual event will have a record-breaking number of participants, as 547 teams of high school students from 39 countries will compete, the center recently announced. For the first time, the top team will present at The World Congress on Climate Change Conference in Rome, Italy in September.
Dr. Ray Ann Havasy, a scientist from Port Washington, founded the CSTL in 2000 as a resource for teachers and families, in an effort to focus more on STEM education — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — which she said was not being valued enough.
The center, tucked away in Rockville Centre’s Tanglewood Preserve, takes care of injured wildlife, hosts field trips and runs the Nature’s Kids Nursery School, among other things. It was set to receive $540,000 in state funds through Round VII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, which provided more than $755 million in economic and community development funding across the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in December.
The funding is going toward building community STEM centers in West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Carle Place, South Huntington, Westbury, Central Islip, Wyandanch and Brentwood. These centers will have equipment like 3D printers, robotics equipment and trained staff to teach, mentor and show how STEM can be the pathway for young people to higher education and successful professional careers.
“The fact that so many teams have applied to participate in this year’s competition validates the importance of STEM in the U.S. and abroad,” Havasy said in a statement. “STEM education is critical for the future and giving young people new opportunities. The winners of our Competition are inspiring youth who are a shining example for other young people from around the world.”
This year’s competition will take place on Thursday, July 12, at Stony Brook University, where it will culminate with displays and student teams’ presentations of their solutions to environmental challenges that will be followed by the announcement the top three winning teams. The public will be able to attend and meet the young scientists. The finalists will vie for over $30,000 in cash prizes and the winning team will continue its relationship with a professional serving as a mentor who will advise and assist the first place team in furthering its climate change work and education.
Last year, Alyssa Iryami and Audrey Shine, from Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, won first place — and $10,000 — for their project involving silkworms. The two students fed graphene to silkworms and demonstrated that the naturally produced silk was strengthened. They proved that the stronger natural silk could be used in many ways, including making water filters.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to support the endeavors of these youth and their appearance at The World Congress on Climate Change Conference can visit www.cstl.org/clean-tech-donation.